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LCQ20: General out-patient clinics services under Hospital Authority

     Following is a question by Dr the Hon Priscilla Leung and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, in the Legislative Council today (February 17):

     Currently, the three District Council Districts, namely Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City, have a total population of over one million. However, among the general out-patient (GOP) clinics set up by the Hospital Authority (HA) in these districts, only the Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club General Out-patient Clinic (Yau Ma Tei Clinic) provides GOP services both in the evening and on Sundays and public holidays (non-office hours). For residents of Sham Shui Po and Kowloon City districts who wish to seek consultation during non-office hours and those of Yau Tsim Mong District who are unable to book in advance consultation quotas of Yau Ma Tei Clinic, they have to seek consultation at GOP clinics in other districts, accident and emergency departments of public hospitals or private clinics. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

(1) the respective average numbers of attendances per hour of Yau Ma Tei Clinic (i) during daytime from Mondays to Saturdays and (ii) during non-office hours last year; whether the HA has assessed if the consultation services provided by the clinic during non-office hours can meet the demand;

(2) given that the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) merely stipulate that one clinic/health centre will be provided for every 100 000 persons for planning purpose but they have not stipulated if it is necessary for such a purpose to be fulfilled in different time periods, what factors the HA has taken into consideration before it arrived at the decision that there would be only one GOP clinic providing GOP services during non-office hours in the three districts, namely Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City; whether such factors include the population of those districts, the time needed by patients to commute to and from the clinics concerned, and the burden on the accident and emergency departments of nearby public hospitals resulting from patients seeking consultation at those departments due to the unavailability of GOP services;

(3) whether the HA will consider making arrangements for its GOP clinics in Sham Shui Po and Kowloon City districts to provide GOP services during non-office hours; if the HA will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(4) given that the residents of Sham Shui Po District wish that the HA will expeditiously reprovision the Shek Kip Mei Health Centre at the redeveloped Shek Kip Mei Estate, of the progress of the reprovisioning plan, and whether the HA will consider making arrangements for the health centre to provide GOP services during non-office hours after its reprovisioning in the light of the demand of the residents in the district?


     My reply to the question raised by Dr the Hon Priscilla Leung is as follows:

(1) The general out-patient clinics (GOPCs) services under the Hospital Authority (HA) are primarily targeted at serving the elderly, the low-income group and the chronically ill. At present, the HA operates 12 GOPCs in Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City districts to provide services to citizens. Among those GOPCs, both the Cheung Sha Wan Jockey Club GOPC in Sham Shui Po and the Central Kowloon Health Centre in Kowloon City provide evening clinic services. The Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club GOPC in Yau Tsim Mong district also provides evening, Sunday and public holiday clinic services.

     The Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club GOPC located in central Kowloon which being one of the biggest GOPCs in Kowloon, is convenient to and easily accessible by patients via different public transport. The average number of quotas for the preceding four weeks (January 17 to February 13, 2016) of the Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club GOPC is set out in the Annex .

     According to the information from the HA, over 97 per cent of patients in the Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club GOPC were able to secure a consultation quota via the telephone appointment system in 2015.

(2), (3) and (4) The GOPCs under the HA provide a huge volume of services which involves about six millions GOPC attendances for more than 1 million patients every year. The HA has always endeavoured to improve the services of GOPCs. The HA has implemented various measures to strengthen the GOPC services, including renovating clinic premises and modernising clinic facilities to improve clinic environment and streamline the patient flow, as well as actively recruiting additional staff to enhance service capacity. Moreover, the HA is planning to extend the General Out-patient Clinic Public-Private Partnership Programme to 18 districts throughout the territory in phases in the coming few years.

     As for clinic renovation and facilities modernisation, taking Sham Shui Po District as an example, the renovation of West Kowloon GOPC was completed and the reprovisioning of Caritas Medical Centre Family Medicine Clinic was realised during the redevelopment of Caritas Medical Centre. Also, Cheung Sha Wan Jockey Club GOPC is now undergoing a total renovation while the renovated Leung Kau Kui Clinic in Kowloon City District is being planned for further expansion. Furthermore, the HA is actively planning a total renovation of Hung Hom Clinic.

     In fact, with the implementation of various measures, there has been an increase of over 500 000 general out-patient attendances under the HA since 2012-13. Consultation quota of GOPCs is anticipated to further increase in 2016-17. The HA understands the strong demand for general outpatient services from members of public, and that the demand as such may sometimes exceed service provision. Nevertheless, under the current stringent manpower situation, the feasibility of enhancing the Sunday and holiday clinic services is not high.

     In planning for the provision of public primary care services, we take into account a number of factors, including primary care service delivery model, demographic changes, distribution of the target groups, the provision of primary care services in the district, the demand for public primary care services, etc. Having considered the distribution of the target groups and the future population growth in these districts, the Government plans to develop new primary care facilities in Sham Shui Po District and Yau Tsim Mong District, including the development of a community health centre (CHC) at the existing Shek Kip Mei Health Centre site, a GOPC in Treasury Building in Cheung Sha Wan and a CHC in the ex-Mongkok Market site, in order to re-organise the primary care service facilities in these districts. The abovementioned three clinic projects are currently under the initial planning stage, and the HA will later consider whether to provide evening, Sunday and holiday clinic services therein. When more details of the concerned projects are available, community stakeholders would be consulted accordingly.

     The HA will continue to pay attention to the demand for public primary care services in these districts and dovetail with the policy development of the Food and Health Bureau. Meanwhile, the HA will continue to closely monitor the service operation and utilisation of GOPCs, and flexibly deploy manpower and other resources to ensure that the primary care services could be appropriately provided to the target groups.

Ends/Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:35


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