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Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

Committee to review medical equipment and facilities

A new committee will review all medical equipment and facilities in public hospitals in a month and advice on maintenance, the Hospital Authority announced last night after three safety mishaps occured in less than a month.
The HA - operator of all 43 public hospitals in Hong Kong - said it would form a review committee on medical equipment and facility maintenance, comprising the authority's board members and engineering and corporate communications experts, a statement said.

No names or the number of members were revealed but sources said veteran surveyor Wan Man-yee, who is a Housing Authority board member, will be the chairman.

The team will "improve the policy direction for managing relevant issues in hospitals," the authority continued.

"The HA has requested all clusters and hospitals to complete a preliminary inspection of the facilities within one month and also strengthen the existing facility maintenance."

The committee will also review the authority's response in the mishaps, reporting mechanism between hospitals and the head office, and internal and external communications.

Recommendations will be made within three months.

Earlier yesterday, a patients' right advocate slammed the authority's management was seriously flawed because it failed to ensure equipment safety, or disclose mishaps to citizens.

The latest incident came when a chunk of concrete fell from the ceiling and landed on a vacant bed in Castle Peak Hospital.

Although no patient or medics were hurt, the authority had kept the incident - in late November last year - to itself for more than three months, until two photos of the concrete lying next to a pillow on a ward bed were posted on Instagram.

Speaking on a radio program yesterday, Hong Kong Patients' Voices chairman Alex Lam Chi-yau said the falling concrete was a serious mishap as it could have hit a patient or medic and result in critical injury, or even death.

"Another problem is the reporting mechanism," he said. "The HA only issued a response after the incident was exposed by the media.

"These point to the HA's seriously flawed management, in terms of service quality and the release of public information.

"HA takes care of millions of citizens and patients every year. Judging from how they handled mishaps, HA apparently is trying to hide its problems."

Lam said under the existing mechanism, hospitals need to report to the authority's head office only in cases of mishaps and the HA decides whether to reveal the incidents to the public.

"But there hasn't been specific conditions as to what to reveal and what not. They rely on internal decisions," he said.

"If these photos had not been posted, we probably would have been kept in the dark for the next three years, not just three months," Lam said

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