Ventilation systems at hospitals to be reviewed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 April, 2003, 12:00am

Hospital ventilation systems are being reviewed by one of the three taskforces set up by the Hong Kong Hospital Authority over the weekend to deal with Sars.

The two other taskforces, headed by authority directors Vivian Wong Tam Chi-woon and Ko Wing-man, will deal with clinical information and management as well as infection control.

Fung Hong, who heads the taskforces to oversee supplies and environmental controls of public hospitals, explained: 'From the experience in China and Hong Kong, relying on protective gowns, masks and gloves is not enough. We have to look at the whole environment including ventilation and airflow.

'We have started introducing exhaust fans to the Sars wards to direct the airflow and create negative pressure. But the temperature in the wards rises a little bit using exhaust fans, so it becomes hot for our staff who are wearing the protective suits. So we have to see how we can further improve it.'

But Dr Fung admitted that the middle managers of some hospitals were stingy in giving out protective suits to the health-care workers. 'In fact they do not have to do it because we have enough,' he said.

Meanwhile, Hospital Authority chairman Leong Che-hung said there was disagreement between hospital heads over the handling of Sars patients. He added he would be pushing for an honour to be bestowed on the 38-year old male nurse at Tuen Mun Hospital, who was the first public hospital staff member to die from Sars.