Eastern Hospital upgrades to meet international mark

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 October, 2010, 12:00am

Patients can expect a bigger emergency room at Eastern Hospital as it becomes the first public facility to gain an international hospital accreditation.

The expansion at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan was one of more than a dozen recommendations made by a team from the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards. The Hospital Authority hired the Australian agency to examine five public medical centres - the others being Queen Mary, Tuen Mun, Queen Elizabeth and Caritas Medical Centre - as part of an accreditation exercise to standardise the quality of care in city hospitals.

Eastern Hospital was rated satisfactory in all 45 assessment criteria.

The rating was made after a five-day examination by 10 surveyors in June. 'They met more than 300 staff members, conducted 80 meetings, visited 90 per cent of our clinical departments and checked nearly all wards,' the authority's cluster service director of accreditation and standards Dr Tang Chung-ngai said.

But the assessors found Eastern Hospital's emergency room was too crowded, Hong Kong East hospitals' chief executive Dr Loretta Yam said.

'A plan [for enlarging the accident and emergency division] has already been submitted and will be considered by the hospital,' Tang said. The accreditation process also made hospital management aware of long-standing problems, including the lack of a holistic document management system, and the absence of written records on the experience of individual medical staff.

Improvements have since been made to overcome the problems.

For example, lists have been compiled to show which nurse or doctor is qualified to perform high-risk procedures such as chemotherapy.

At the same time, Eastern Hospital has no plan to segregate girls and boys in children's wards, even though a 13-year-old boy was arrested for indecently assaulting a five-year-old girl at the hospital earlier this month.

Zoning in wards separated younger children from teenagers, Yam said.

Additional staff would be needed to put the two groups into different wards, she said.