Hong Kong Children’s Hospital (HKCH), which will be the first of its kind in the city, may have fewer beds and doctors than planned, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday, citing people familiar with the situation.
The hospital began construction at the Kai Tak Development area in August 2013 with the goal of completion by 2017.
It is expected to begin operations in phases from 2018 and become the hub of the Hospital Authority’s pediatric network, focusing on tertiary services and providing quality specialty care for complex and rare cases that require multidisciplinary management.
HKCH was originally planned to have 301 beds in its initial stage — with a total of 468 beds later — and 16 clinical departments.
However, the report said only 230 beds and four departments will be available in the beginning.
The sources said the reasons were a shortage of doctors and a lack of consensus from public hospitals’ pediatric departments on support staff and services.
The number of doctors will be cut to 108 initially from the planned 128, the sources said.
Part of the reason may be the fact that several private hospitals, including Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital, are also scheduled to open, resulting in a talent war for doctors.
An unnamed official at the authority said internal discussions about the numbers of beds, doctors and departments are continuing and that it will review them from time to time after the hospital opens.
Tim Pang Hung-cheong, a community organizer with the Society for Community Organization who focuses on patients’ rights, said the inadequate staffing at HKCH is the result of the failure of advance planning by the government.
He expressed concern that the same fate may face Tin Shui Wai Hospital, construction of which is scheduled to be completed in the middle of next year.
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