New surgery slots in east Kowloon

Local | Jane Cheung 1 Nov 2019

A new ambulatory surgery center has commenced service in Tseung Kwan O Hospital, providing 1,000 extra surgery slots every year.

Tom Kam-tim, chief executive of Hospital Authority's Kowloon East cluster, said the center has been operating since the beginning of last month and offers out-patient surgeries for orthopedic, eye and gynecologic patients.

10 beds will be exclusively reserved for the centers' patients so they will not have to share a ward with hospitalized patients, he added.

The new center is the second of its kind in the hospital, with the existing center handling 2,000 surgeries every year. Tom said the addition of out-patient surgery slots will help to shorten the waiting time for specialist ambulatory surgeries within the cluster.

This came as the waiting list of specialist out-patient services in Kowloon East topped all clusters in Hong Kong, with the average waiting time for the eye department as long as three years.

Tom admitted the cluster lost 6 to 7 percent of doctors in the first half of this year, in par with the manpower loss of the whole authority.

"Some manpower were lost in the eye department but we have already hired new staff as a replenishment," he said, adding that the cluster will recruit 30 more doctors in the coming year.

Tom said the cluster will also recruit 127 nurses, 53 allied health workers and 120 administrative staff to cope with the increasing workload.

"Many citizens live in Kowloon East, with the elderly taking up a certain proportion, so we see a higher demand for specialist services such as cataract surgeries," Tom said.

Tseung Kwan O Hospital will also set up a new rehabilitation center offering a quota of 870 outpatients every year.

Cluster-wise, Tom said 86 beds will be added, including 36 in the emergency and accident and internal medicine wards at the United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong, increasing the total number of beds in the cluster to 2,800. The cluster will also boost its capacity for specialist out-patient services by adding 2,755 places.

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