Hospital Authority punished 40 staff

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 September, 1998, 12:00am

Forty Hospital Authority staff were disciplined in the past financial year for breaching the professional code or for negligence.

Secretary for Health and Welfare, Katherine Fok Lo Shiu-ching, said the Hospital Authority promptly investigated the causes of any medical incidents.

Staff would be disciplined if found to have been negligent or to have breached the professional code.

She said all medical procedures carried certain intrinsic risks. Some clinical staff might make errors 'due to factors related to experience, professional judgment and personal or other environmental reasons'.

But she said recent medical blunders were 'isolated' and did not indicate that all frontline clinical staff lacked alertness or a sense of accountability, or that there was insufficient staff.

While she agreed that staff shortages in hospitals might place workers under greater pressure, there was no reason to believe that staff made mistakes because of that.

Mrs Fok said the authority would consider several factors before deciding whether to disclose medical mistakes to the public.

These included whether disclosure would be acceptable to patients and families, whether the mistake would affect the well-being of the public, and whether disclosure would alert clinical staff and the public to adopt appropriate preventive measures.