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Hospital Authority introduces special measures to cope with service demand during long holidays
The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The Hospital Authority (HA) announced today (December 22) that it will introduce special measures during the Christmas holidays to meet the possible demand for additional services in public hospitals. The HA is closely monitoring the situation and will arrange additional manpower, hospital beds and resources to ensure that public hospitals have sufficient capacity to provide patients with appropriate services.

     The HA Director of Cluster Services, Dr Simon Tang, said, "The weather will stay cold through the coming week. It is expected that a large number of patients need to seek medical treatment in accident and emergency (A&E) departments, including the elderly and patients with chronic diseases. The number of patients admitted to public hospitals will also rise subsequently. While there are still many hospitalised COVID-19 patients, the situation will cause a serious impact to the service of public hospitals."

     The HA will introduce a series of measures to cope with the possible service demand during the long holidays in the coming days, including:
  • Additional support to A&E departments in response to the increased demand for services;
  • Increase the number of temporary beds and expedite the patient discharge process, including arranging more doctors to conduct ward rounds on holidays and providing additional non-emergency ambulance transfer services for discharged patients in need, so as to expedite hospital bed turnover and shorten the waiting time for patients to be admitted to hospitals;
  • Strengthen the outreach medical services for residential care homes so as to enhance their capabilities in receiving suitable discharged patients;
  • Strengthen the service capacity of designated clinics, tele-consultation and medication delivery services for relatively high risk COVID-19 patients, and provide appropriate support to patients with mild symptoms in the community;
  • Increase the flexibility for staff to participate in the Special Honorarium Scheme so as to encourage them to provide extra services during holidays; and
  • Arrange transferring of more suitable inpatients to receive medical services at private hospitals, thereby more beds can be vacated as soon as possible for admission of patients with more medical needs.
     Dr Tang added, "The A&E departments in public hospitals are likely to be busy in the next few days. I hope the public will understand and co-operate with us. Non-urgent patients are advised to seek consultation at general out-patient clinics, private doctors or the 24-hour clinics of private hospitals. In cold weather, make sure you stay warm and maintain good personal and environmental hygiene. More care should also be taken by the elderly who live alone." To choose a suitable family doctor and a related clinic service, members of the public are welcome to browse the Primary Care Directory of the Health Bureau at www.pcdirectory.gov.hk.
     The HA Emergency Operation Command will closely monitor the service demand of public hospitals in the next few days while mobilising resources in a timely manner to ensure that public hospitals have sufficient manpower and beds to meet service demands during the long holidays.
Ends/Thursday, December 22, 2022
Issued at HKT 17:50
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