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LCQ20: North Lantau Hospital

     Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau Wai-hing and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, in the Legislative Council today (November 12):


     Some Tung Chung residents have relayed to me that since the commissioning of the North Lantau Hospital (NLH) last year, there has all along been a shortage of healthcare personnel in NLH. One of the causes is that NLH is located far away from other residential areas, and the Hospital Authority (HA) has not provided travel allowances to those staff members who have to travel long distance to work at NLH, resulting in healthcare personnel unwilling to work at NLH. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether they know:

(1) the shortage of healthcare personnel in various specialties since the commissioning of NLH, and if there have been occasions where service demand cannot be met or new services cannot be launched as scheduled due to a shortage of healthcare personnel; if so, of the details; and

(2) if HA will consider providing travel allowances or other incentives to its staff members who are not residing in Tung Chung district, so as to attract them to work at NLH; if HA will, of the details; if it will not, the reasons for that?



     The North Lantau Hospital (NLTH) has come into operation in phases since September 2013.  My reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) At present, the NLTH provides 24-hour Accident and Emergency (A&E) service, inpatient service, day procedures, day rehabilitation service, specialist outpatient service (including medicine, surgery, orthopaedics and traumatology, and psychiatry), a community health centre, allied health service, community nursing service, geriatric outreach service and psychiatric outreach service. Pharmacy, diagnostic radiology and pathology services are also provided. These services have been launched as planned.

     To cope with the service development of the NLTH, the Hospital Authority (HA) is carrying out its recruitment plan and good progress has been made. As at September 2014, the HA has employed 327 staff members for the NLTH, including 31 doctors and 79 nurses.  Various measures have also been implemented to attract healthcare personnel to join the hospital. For example, briefing sessions were held at hospitals in the cluster to enhance staff's understanding of the NLTH. A number of job fairs targeting local residents were organised, and recruitment advertisements were posted in nearby housing estates to attract more residents of the district to join the NLTH team. Moreover, the HA has an established mechanism to review the remuneration and benefits of staff. Training and development opportunities are also provided to attract and retain staff.

(2) The NLTH is about 1.3 kilometres (approximately 15-minute walk) from the Tung Chung MTR Station. It is easily accessible by buses from different districts of Hong Kong and Kowloon. Currently, some staff members of the NLTH are residing in Tung Chung, Tsing Yi and other nearby areas.

     The HA is maintaining close liaison with the Transport Department and the Islands District Council to explore the feasibility for setting up minibus service for directly reaching the hospital. This will facilitate access to the hospital by staff members living in other districts and attract more interested citizens to join the NLTH team.

     The HA will continue to keep in view the service demand of the district and maintain close contact with relevant stakeholders for continuous expansion of services in phases after considering such factors as service demand, resources and manpower supply.

Ends/Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:57


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