Organ transplant team aims to conserve resources

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2011, 12:00am

Queen Mary Hospital will set up a special team to handle emergency organ transplants by the end of this year, in order to avoid seconding manpower from general wards and disrupting other scheduled services.

A dozen doctors and nurses will be hired in the coming months to take care of all emergency organ transplants, said hospital chief Dr Luk Che-chung. Currently, some non-emergency services need to be delayed as nurses and doctors are seconded to do the transplants.

The setting up of a special transplants team was part of the hospital's annual plan, which was announced yesterday.

With a new batch of nursing graduates joining the workforce this summer, Luk said services could be extended.

The hospital is hoping to bring back into use one or two beds in the intensive care unit. Four of the unit's 20 beds have been out of use since last year as a result of staff shortages.

Luk, who is also the head of the Hospital Authority's Hong Kong West group of hospitals, said the group would recruit 180 to 190 nurses this year, and promote dozens of them to senior posts.

'We would not just rely on fresh graduates. We are planning to organise careers fairs in Tung Wah Hospital every week to recruit those with experience,' he said.

Also part of Queen Mary's annual plan is the expansion of services for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The ADHD clinic was now serving 1,134 cases, but 410 children were still on the waiting list, according to consultant psychiatrist Dr Phyllis Chan Kwok-ling.

The hospital is looking to admit 300 new cases this year, with seven additional staff members added to the team.

'We insist that all new cases have to be seen thoroughly by the doctor on the first consultation, which takes three hours,' she said.

But she admitted that it was 'optimistic' to hope that enough people would be recruited by the end of this year, as the general shortage of doctors and nurses continued.

Chan said the demand for services had grown rapidly in recent years, as teachers and parents become more aware of the condition. Referrals from private doctors had climbed from some 30 cases per month in 2008 to over 100 last year.

She said the condition was now detected in seven out of every 100 primary school pupils, but if treated properly, half would not need to see a doctor as they grew up.

Meanwhile, the Hospital Authority held a special meeting yesterday with nursing unions to discuss the issue of a personnel shortage across public hospitals.

Cecilia So Chui-kuen, a committee member of the Chinese Civil Servants' Association's nurses branch, said that the authority agreed to set up a special task force to work on staff requirements in the long term.

'There should be an indicator of manpower required under different situations, such as acute or non-acute,' she said.


The duration, in hours, of some liver-transplant operations

- 90 such operations were done at Queen Mary Hospital last year