Secretary for Health visits Queen Mary Hospital (with photos)
Accompanied by the Cluster Chief Executive of Hong Kong West Cluster of the Hospital Authority (HA), Dr Theresa Li, Professor Lo and the Under Secretary for Health, Dr Libby Lee, visited the isolation ward, the medicine cohort cubicle and the angiography suite. They received a briefing by the hospital management and frontline healthcare staff on the current service situation and manpower arrangement at the hospital in response to the dual challenges posed by COVID-19 and the winter influenza.
Professor Lo said, "The numbers of elderly patients and patients with chronic diseases have been increasing in winter. As the Lunar New Year holiday is approaching, residents will have gatherings more frequently, which will inevitably increase their risk of contracting COVID-19 or influenza. As such, public hospitals are expected to stay under immense pressure. With the orderly resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland, the Government and the HA will continue to closely monitor the provision of healthcare services, and will deploy manpower, hospital beds and resources in a timely and flexible manner to ensure that the healthcare system can operate as usual during the winter service surge period."
Professor Lo also took the opportunity today to communicate with frontline healthcare staff to learn about their difficulties during the service surge period and listen to their opinions.
Regarding the recent criminal prosecution of HA employees in relation to making a mistake when diagnosing and treating a patient, Professor Lo said: "As the Secretary for Health and a frontline surgeon, I am saddened by the criminal prosecution of the two doctors for making a mistake in diagnosing and treating a patient. The frontline healthcare staff are all upholding the 'first, do no harm' of the Hippocratic Oath, and treat patients faithfully. The senior management of the HA and I are very concerned about the incident, in particular the situation of the two colleagues and the feelings of all the staff. I also learned about and discussed with the management of the Head Office yesterday (January 12) on the support provided by the HA to the two colleagues. I fully understand the concerns and worries of frontline doctors on the incident. Doctors in public healthcare sector (including the HA and the Department of Health) or private medical institutions may be worried that they will unwittingly violate the law in daily diagnosis, which will affect the efficiency of the overall healthcare services and their professional development. As the Secretary for Health, together with the management of the HA, we will do our best to ensure healthcare staff can continue to provide professional diagnosis and treatment in a safe system and environment."
He also expressed his gratitude to frontline healthcare staff for always maintaining a high level of professionalism in difficult times, as well as standing fast at their posts, taking care of patients with heart, and safeguarding Hong Kong's healthcare system at all time.
"I firmly believe that my fellow doctors will continue to maintain a high level of professionalism as usual, and faithfully perform the solemn duty of doctors to save lives. The quality of doctors and medical standards in Hong Kong have been highly recognised and regarded internationally. My fellow doctors will work together to protect our hard-earned professionalism."
Ends/Friday, January 13, 2023
Issued at HKT 23:10
Issued at HKT 23:10