As overcrowding in public hospitals persists because of the surge in the number of flu patients and shows no sign of easing, the pressure faced by nurses has reached a critical point.
The Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff, which counts one in six nurses in the city as members, said in an open letter in major newspapers Wednesday that nurses are highly unsatisfied with the lack of sufficient resources and the lack of effective support, RTHK reported.
In the letter, addressed to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the nurses ask the government to allocate more resources to facilitate their work.
They demand that the Food and Health Bureau “handle special cases with special methods” and that the Hospital Authority hire more part-time nurses as soon as possible.
The letter says all non-necessary administrative tasks should be suspended so that the nurses can put patients first.
The desperate appeal results from the fact that all public hospitals now have bed occupancy rates exceeding 100 percent and each nurse needs to look after as many as 12 patients, double the international standard of six.
Association chairman Joseph Lee Kok-long, who represents the health services constituency in the legislature, criticized the authorities for having failed to do a good job in tackling the problems, Metro Hong Kong reported.
Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man responded that the Hospital Authority will continue to make every effort to ease the workload for front-line medical staff.
Louis Shih Tai-Cho, president of the Hong Kong Medical Association, said medical resources are being wrongly allocated.
Shih urged the government to allot more resources to community healthcare services to allow them to provide long-term medical care to the elderly, so as to ease the burden and pressure on public hospitals.
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