PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 July, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 July, 1996, 12:00am

On May 12 the Sunday Morning Post featured an article comparing the relative merits of public and private hospitals for childbirth.

At the time my wife and I were expecting our second child, the first child having been born in England three years ago.

After much deliberation on the choice of hospital to opt for, especially being new to Hong Kong, we decided our second child would be delivered in a public hospital and chose Tsan Yuk Hospital, on Hong Kong Island.

My wife attended pre-natal check-ups at the hospital where the care was excellent and she finally gave birth to a baby boy on June 3, in the normal delivery room where I was also allowed to attend.

The staff were friendly and courteous, the public ward was clean, efficient, well run, and the food healthy and plentiful.

Whilst it is every couple's prerogative to choose whether their baby is born in a public or private hospital, we can't help thinking that the only people benefiting from couples choosing private care are the administrators who receive the cheque for $30,000 to $50,000 as the couple leave.

Our bill for using the public hospital was $120.

Of course my wife did not have the luxury of fancy wallpaper, her own room with TV and telephone. But she was able to recover knowing the medical care she and our new baby were receiving was second to none.

She also had the knowledge that if problems did arise with the delivery, all the facilities were directly available within the public hospital, which may not have been the case if we had chosen one of the private hospitals.

Couples should lose the snobbery, take a check-it-out attitude and save themselves a fortune.