Chinese-medicine clinics to stay open

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2008, 12:00am

The Hospital Authority for the first time is keeping its Chinese-medicine outpatient clinics open over the Easter break as another measure to cope with the flu outbreak.

Eight clinics will provide limited services from today instead of shutting for the break.

The authority's adviser of integrative medicine, Vivian Wong Taam Chi-woon, said yesterday the arrangement would provide another option for people seeking treatment and help to relieve the pressure on public hospitals.

But she added that under the guidelines distributed by the Centre for Health Protection to every clinic, patients who developed serious flu-like symptoms such as high fever, dizziness and coughing would be referred back to the emergency units in public hospitals.

'The main role for the Chinese-medicine practitioners is mainly to consult patients who develop mild flu-like symptoms,' Dr Wong said.

She also appealed to the public not to 'blindly' take too much Chinese herbal tea to ward off flu.

Rather than a remedy, the tea was more a preventive measure that helped improve the immune system and maintain harmony in the body, or to lessen the discomfort of mild flu.

The eight Chinese-medicine clinics that will be open for service are at Tung Wah Hospital in Sheung Wan, Yan Chai Hospital in Tsuen Wan, the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital in Tai Po, Tang Shiu Kin Hospital in Wan Chai, Tseung Kwan O Hospital, Yuen Long Madam Yung Fung Shee Health Centre, Yan Oi Polyclinic in Tuen Mun and the Fanling Health Centre. The opening hours vary for each clinic.

The Centre for Health Protection yesterday received three new reports of children being admitted to hospital with suspected complications arising from flu infection. Since the surveillance system started last Thursday, the centre has been notified of 23 cases, of which six have tested positive for flu.