East meets West for the treatment of inpatients
Kwong Wah Hospital will provide the city's first inpatient service offering a combined treatment of Western and Chinese traditional medicine from the end of this month.
The public hospital will have its first batch of 110 hospital beds available for the combined treatment of patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer, stroke, pain, cerebral palsy and diabetes.
Hospital deputy executive director Dr Andrew Yip Wai-chun said the mixed inpatient treatment would be expanded to cover more diseases in future.
'Patients have been asking for a combination treatment with Chinese medicine,' he said.
'It has already become the trend on the mainland - many of their hospitals are already providing this service.'
At present, the combined treatment is available only at outpatient clinics.
Under the pilot scheme, patients will be attended by doctors and a Chinese medicine practitioner. The Chinese medical service fees will be free in the first six months, meaning patients will only have to pay the regular Hospital Authority inpatient fee of HK$100 a day. But after six months, patients will be billed an extra HK$100 to HK$150 a day with another HK$40 to HK$50 fee for medication.
Yip said doctors would offer suitable patients the option of combined treatment. If patients agree, a Chinese medicine practitioner and a doctor would see them together and discuss the medical reports.
In the past, patients sometimes consulted Chinese medicine practitioners without telling their doctors. When changes occurred in their condition, doctors may not be able to identify the real cause, he said.
Taking cancer as an example, Yip said the two types of medicine can complement each other.
'Western medical knowledge is needed to get rid of cancerous tissues such as by surgery and Chinese medicine can relieve the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy,' he said.
To launch the service in its inpatient ward on September 28, Kwong Wah Hospital had recruited a team of eight Chinese medicine practitioners, from Hong Kong and the mainland, and seven doctors with Western medical knowledge, who would meet regularly to discuss cases. Yip expects that 10 new cases will be received each day.
The hospital has provided combined treatment services for outpatients for four years. Other public hospitals, including Yan Chai Hospital, also provide such a service for outpatients.
'We have no doctors trained in both Chinese and Western medicine under the current system in Hong Kong. Doctors have to work together to ensure there are no side effects in combing the two kinds of medicine,' Yip said.
The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals funds the Chinese medicine part of the project and the Western side comes under supervision of the Hospital Authority.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted last month by an online health promotion platform Healthlink found that 96 per cent of 544 people interviewed supported the combination of Chinese and Western medicine as a treatment option.
The percentage of people in a survey who would consult a Chinese medicine practitioner when they are ill