27 October 2016
Many of the people showing up at A&E departments have flu. Photo: HKEJ
Many of the people showing up at A&E departments have flu. Photo: HKEJ

Public hospital A&E patients top 6,000 a day

Accident and emergency (A&E) services at public hospitals are under serious stress, as the number of people using them each day has surpassed 6,000, Headline Daily reported Wednesday.

A total of 6,315 people sought help at A&E departments Monday, it said.

Pok Oi Hospital in Yuen Long and Caritas Medical Centre in Cheung Sha Wan received patients 10 percent beyond their capacity, and patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei exceeded its capacity by over 20 percent.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said 169 of every 1,000 patients presented flu symptoms, including upper respiratory tract infections, fever, coughing, sore throat and pneumonia, meaning the outbreak is posing an increasing threat.

A female patient surnamed To, who was carrying a dead fetus, waited over three hours in the A&E department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was unable to see a doctor.

A couple surnamed Wong, whose six-year-old daughter had a fever, said they were worried they might fall sick themselves after having waited over an hour and a half in an enclosed environment full of germs.

Dr. Axel Siu Yuet-chung of the Hong Kong College of Emergency Medicine said 90 percent of patients suffering from miscarriages should be treated by a doctor within 30 minutes under the performance pledge of the Hospital Authority.

To’s case may have been delayed by five times the suggested period, he said.

However, in the case of the daughter of the Wongs, it would be difficult to determine if the patient was inappropriately treated, as no temperature readings were available, Siu said.

He said the coming one to two weeks could be another stressful period for public hospitals, as the unstable weather could result in more people falling sick, and more people are returning to Hong Kong from their holidays.

Pan Pey-chyou, who chairs the Hong Kong Medical and Health Care Staff General Union, said the end of the year is usually a peak season for flu.

Medical staff would have to cancel their holidays and work overtime to cope with the greater demand, Pan said.

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