Long waits at specialist clinics show need for a more efficient system

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 February, 2011, 12:00am

I have previously read criticisms of the delays at hospital specialist clinics and would certainly agree that the hospitals really ought to resolve these long-standing problems.

On Monday, I checked in at S4 block of Queen Mary Hospital at 10.30am.

Now I know that the check-in time gives little indication of how long one has to wait to be seen, but by 12.05pm I had read the South China Morning Post from cover to cover, and went back to the S4 counter to try to find out if my paperwork had gone astray.

It was then that I was told that there were only two doctors available to see all the patients, and they were still with dealing those people who had checked in at 10am.

When, finally, my name was called at about 12.25pm, I was relieved, but cold from waiting.

I expressed my regret to my doctor that they were so overburdened with 'customers'.

I also expressed my indignation that the hospital could not make better arrangements to have smaller time slots so that scores of patients could arrive later and not have to sit around for hours on end for a pre-arranged appointment.

Even a numbered disc system with a video display on the walls showing the next number would be a slight improvement on the present arrangement.

At least one could get some indication of how much longer a wait one was in for.

It certainly is not my favourite way of passing two boring, and chilly, hours, surrounded by patients who may not be in the best of health and spreading their flu and other viruses, or collecting them from others for hours on end.

Luckily, I will not have to go back to that particular specialist clinic for the next 12 months.

However, I hope that Queen Mary Hospital and other hospitals in Hong Kong will have made it easier and less time-consuming by then.

If previous years are anything to go by I suspect that will not be the case.

But for the sake of everyone, doctors included, I live in hope.

Anthony R. C. Green, Pok Fu Lam