No-refund policy for miscarriages criticised

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 September, 2007, 12:00am

A measure introduced this year to curb the influx of pregnant mainlanders giving birth in Hong Kong by increasing costs and requiring a deposit has been criticised because no refund is offered in the event of a miscarriage.

The wife of Hui Hon-kee, a 40-year-old Hong Kong resident, registered at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in February, paying a deposit of HK$39,000 for a package of obstetric services. The baby was due this month.

However, the woman had a miscarriage in April in Shenzhen, where she lives. Mr Hui said he asked the hospital for a refund of his wife's deposit four months ahead of the scheduled delivery date, but his request was refused.

'It's ridiculous and unreasonable,' he said. 'I wonder why the hospital has no refund in this case.'

The hospital wrote to Mr Hui, explaining that no refund was offered under any circumstances, he said.

Legislator Albert Ho Chun-yan said miscarriages were common and should be considered reasonable grounds for a refund.

'This kind of clear-cut approach is unacceptable,' he said.

'When the government announced this policy early this year, it was hastily introduced with no careful consideration about the details,' he added.

A Hospital Authority spokesman said it had received other similar complaints and would look into the case this month.

Introduced in February, the policy was intended to discourage mainland women from giving birth in Hong Kong.

According to Hospital Authority figures, the number of mainland mothers admitted daily for emergency births has dropped by nearly 80 per cent since the measure was introduced.