Noisy start to life for newborns at Matilda

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 October, 2011, 12:00am


One of Hong Kong's most prestigious - and expensive - maternity hospitals is asking for patience from its patients amid complaints that renovations there are keeping mothers and babies awake.

Company director Matthew Coulter's wife gave birth on Tuesday in the Matilda International Hospital on The Peak, but the ongoing building work meant their child was moved to the nursery because of the noise.

Coulter said he could not fault the care that had been given to his wife and child, but was shocked at the level of noise from construction work. He claimed work was going on beyond 7pm at night and on a Sunday.

'The noise levels get really loud with hammers and drills being used. It's not just unfair to mothers and babies, but also to the staff there who are doing a great job under very testing circumstances,' he said. 'It really puts a huge amount of stress on everyone.'

Coulter described the conditions as hardly ideal when the noise was loud enough to wake a baby, and said some couples had paid hospital fees months in advance but were not given enough notice of the work.

'Everyone accepts that if renovations need to be done you have to put up with the noise,' he said.

'The problem is that construction rules seem to be stretched there and work is going on when it shouldn't be. It all becomes very unfair to everyone.'

Hospital spokeswoman Lynne Fung apologised for the noise generated by the refurbishment and said they were trying to keep it down. Fung said the hospital was complying fully with noise and construction regulations and to her knowledge no work had been done on a Sunday.

'We are doing everything in our power to keep the noise to a minimum. We do appreciate that it's not easy to deal with at times.'

However, Fung explained that the hospital was in a catch-22 situation because the renovations were necessary and essential and there was no other time when they could be done.

'If we were to stop the work going on it would just take longer to finish, and if we reduced the number of patients we took in we'd then be getting complaints about that,' Fung said.

She said as much notice had been given to patients as possible.


The amount, in HK dollars, that a three-night delivery package in a private room costs at the Matilda International Hospital on The Peak