Birth of a new era

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 December, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 December, 1994, 12:00am

I WRITE in response to the article 'Labour charges' (Sunday Morning Post Magazine, November 20).

In the past, the Tsan Yuk Hospital, like many in Hong Kong, refused to allow husbands to accompany their wives during labour because we did not have the facilities.

But recognising the benefits of the husband's presence, we started preparatory work to change this policy two years ago.

First, all staff had to be convinced of the benefits of such a change. In addition, a video had to be prepared to explain the process of labour to the couples, especially to the prospective fathers.

Health talks for the fathers and physiotherapy classes for couples had to be organised, not to mention alterations to the labour ward.

Since August, husbands have been encouraged to accompany their wives during labour and we have had a favourable response. We recognised the need to prepare parents for childbirth 12 years ago and Tsan Yuk was the first hospital in Hong Kong to invite prospective fathers to free antenatal classes.

Management plans are always discussed with patients and procedures explained. Episiotomy is performed when medically necessary and not as a routine practice. While our priority is to provide the best medical care, we also try our best to improve patients' comfort and convenience.

We have made many improvements in recent years including air-conditioning in all patient areas, sitting rooms for fathers, longer visiting hours (8 am to 8 pm), allowing even young children to visit their mothers and newborn siblings and a telephone hotline on breast-feeding.

The hospital plans to hold an open day next year so members of the public can see these improvements for themselves.

TINA W. F. TAM (Dr) Chief Executive, Tsan Yuk Hospital