Cops pull out of hospital duty, Hospital Authority concerned

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The police pulled out from two public hospitals, amid an ongoing row with doctors over extradition bill protesters being arrested while they were seeking treatment earlier this month, RTHK reports.
The police confirmed that officers are not at the police posts at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Yan Chai Hospital, where arrests are believed to have been made on June 12.
A sign outside the post at Queen Elizabeth Hospital said if anyone needed assistance they should dial 999. 
Sources told RTHK that the Hospital Authority had expressed its concern over the move to the police force. 
A police spokesman said although the two posts were temporarily unmanned, officers are in the vicinity of the two sites.
The police have come under fire for arresting a number of people who went to hospitals after being injured on June 12, when officers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbags at protesters in Admiralty.
Some hospital staff had complained that police demanded personal information of patients believed to be protesters, with claims some had even eavesdropped on conversations between medical staff and people receiving treatment.
A lawmaker also claimed that police had gained access to patient databases in accident and emergency departments. The Hospital Authority denied this was the case, but launched a review into patient privacy and cyber security.
Doctors say they are worried that people will be too scared to seek treatment for serious injuries if they risk being arrested, and that trust in medical staff will be eroded if patients think hospital workers are colluding with the police.
The Junior Police Officers' Association today hit out at hospital unions who had raised concerns over police action on June 12, saying if officers failed to look for crime suspects in hospitals they would be endangering public safety.
A statement issued by the association accused hospital staff of being ignorant of the law, and added that if doctors and nurses really believe the police are hindering their work, the Hospital Authority should stop asking for a police presence in public hospitals.-Photo: RTHK