Expectant mums in march over beds
Local parents, newlyweds and hospital workers marched yesterday to urge the government to stop giving permanent residency to babies born in Hong Kong whose parents are both from the mainland.
About 600 protesters, many of whom were angry at having to compete for hospital maternity beds with mainland women, marched from Victoria Park to the government headquarters in Admiralty.
'Public hospitals are so full that prenatal check-ups have become brief, and an ultrasound scan can only be lined up too late into the pregnancy,' protester Joyce Hung Chui-yuk said. 'We have to pay to visit private practitioners for check-ups.'
Hung, who is expecting her first child next month and has booked a delivery at Prince of Wales Hospital, said, 'It's not fair that we as taxpayers have to bear this financial burden.'
Protester Leung Ting-yan, a nurse in the intensive care unit for newborns at the hospital, said: 'We have mainland women who do not have advance bookings and gatecrash the emergency ward hours after their water has burst - which runs the risk of infection.
'They always wait until the very last minute to arrive at the hospital, because they are scared that if it is not urgent, they will be turned away and sent back to the mainland.'
Dr Leung Pak-yin, chief executive of the Hospital Authority, said it was considering raising the price for mainlanders who give birth in emergency wards.
Lee Cheuk-yan, general secretary of the Confederation of Trade Unions, said that would not work, but suggested the government pay private hospitals for bed spaces to increase capacity instead.