Hospital steps up countdown to closing

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 June, 2012, 12:00am

Hong Kong Central Hospital met Health Department officials yesterday to begin the process of shutting its doors after a devastating court ruling this week ordering it off the site it has occupied for more than 50 years.

The private hospital is expected to hand in a report within a week on plans for transferring patients and their medical records before its mandatory move-out date in September.

The hospital has decided not to appeal against the Court of First Instance's decision. On Monday, Mr Justice Conrad Seagroatt dismissed the hospital's claim that it should be allowed to remain on the prime Lower Albert Road site even though its lease with the Anglican Church expired last June.

'The hospital should ensure there are adequate medical professionals to work at the site until the last moment,' Food and Health Secretary Dr York Chow Yat-ngok said yesterday.

'It will hand in a report for the government to approve within a week to explain its plan for closing down, including the transferring of patients.'

The 80-bed hospital does mostly outpatient procedures and surgery, although it now has about a dozen overnight patients.

A Health Department spokesman said the hospital had been reminded to observe all relevant laws and regulations on closure, taking steps, for example, to protect patient's personal data while transferring medical records.

Chow, meanwhile, shot down the hospital's request to move to unused space at Tsan Yuk Hospital in Sai Ying Pun, saying the government would not favour one hospital over another by providing Central Hospital with a site and facility.

'It should go through the process of tendering for the use of land properly,' he said.

Chow said the government did not want to give the hospital false hope of a solution and had informed administrators about its position on the proposal three years ago.

Dr Alan Lau Kwok-lam, the hospital's managing director, said earlier this week that the hospital's board would not appeal against the court's ruling because it would be too costly and the chances of success were too slim.