Caritas seeks funds for renovation plan
Mary Ann Benitez
Three dilapidated blocks will make way for a garden
Funding is being sought by the government to redevelop the 42-year-old Caritas Medical Centre, transforming three old blocks into a rehabilitation garden while expanding the geriatric day service.
The proposed HK$1.3 billion project will be discussed at the Legislative Council's health services panel meeting on Monday before going to the Finance Committee for approval.
The redevelopment comes four years after the hospital built a 14-storey block to accommodate in-patient wards and demolished two substandard blocks.
But a government paper said four of the seven blocks are 'dilapidated, substandard and cannot meet present-day requirements of an acute general hospital'.
'The substandard conditions of these blocks has also made it increasingly costly to maintain them in a serviceable condition,' it said.
Caritas-Hong Kong is the parent organisation of the medical centre.
The second-phase redevelopment will involve the demolition of three 42-year-old blocks - Wai On, Wai Tak and Wai Yan. In their place, a rehabilitation garden will be built as well as an improved access road.
A block will be built by August 2011, centrally locating clinical services. It will house 260 rehabilitation beds, 50 beds for day surgery and 60 day places for its geriatric day hospital. Bridges will connect the new block with remaining buildings on the complex.
The Wai Ming block, which has been in use for 28 years, will also be redeveloped. When the redevelopment project is completed, Caritas will have 1,276 in-patient beds and will be able to handle 596,000 outpatients a year.
The Health, Welfare and Food Bureau and the Hospital Authority say the rising population in Sham Shui Po will continue to exert pressure on the medical centre.
It is estimated the population in the district will increase by 18 per cent, from 381,100 last year to 449,200 in 2015.
The redevelopment will also meet increasing demand from an ageing population, with 16 per cent of residents in the district aged 65 and over.
The Finance Committee approved HK$47.9 million for preparatory works for the hospital's redevelopment in July 2003.