Letters to the editor, May 12, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 May, 2016, 5:35pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 May, 2016, 5:35pm

Charge more to cut outpatient pressure

I believe public hospitals should raise the emergency services fee from HK$100 to HK$200 because such a move would lead to an improvement of ­services.

With people only having to pay HK$100 at present, they are being charged far less than what they would have to pay if they sought treatment at a private hospital in Hong Kong.

This leads to abuse of the ­system, with many citizens whose condition is not serious and does not require emergency treatment still going to the ­accident and emergency units in public hospitals and paying the low registration fee.

As a consequence, doctors and nurses face much heavier workloads.

They often have to work long shifts with little time to rest and this is exhausting. This is exacerbated by the staff shortages in so many of these wards and what results is a vicious circle.

Medical staff who are exhausted could be more prone to make mistakes.

If the fee is raised to HK$200, more people will think twice before going to a public hospital to have emergency treatment, especially if their condition is not serious and is therefore not an actual emergency.

Emily Yeung, Sham Shui Po

Non-urgent cases should go elsewhere

There is no doubt that visiting a Hong Kong public hospital to get treatment is very time-consuming.

Depending on how busy it is the wait can be between three and 10 hours, depending how serious your condition is and whether you require urgent treatment.

If medical staff have determined that you go to the back of the queue, because your condition is not serious, then this would indicate that you should not be there in the first place, paying the HK$100 emergency services fee.

I therefore think the fee should be doubled so that fewer people will use this service and we will see less overcrowding in wards providing emergency services.

With this much higher charge, patients who are not seriously ill (maybe they have a cold, headache or back pain) would think twice and decide ­instead to go to a ­private hospital or clinic and ease the pressure on public hospitals.

This would mean that ­genuine cases could be dealt with sooner than at present.

Kevinie Suen Hiu-yee, Lai Chi Kok

Rainstorm alerts tough call for all

I refer to the report about the heavy rainstorm on Tuesday (“Hong Kong red rain alert ­replaced by amber again: flood warning for parts of New Territories, classes suspended”, May 10).

The heavy rain came at a very inconvenient time for students on their way to school. Many of them are not allowed to take their mobile phones when going to school and this made it difficult to check up weather information and decide if they should return home.

This also put teachers in a difficult position.

Following these rainstorms, the Observatory and Education ­Bureau often come in for criticism about the timing for raising a rainstorm warning and ­ordering schools to close.

I think their actions were appropriate. And the teachers did their best to deal with the situation with those pupils who did come to school.

Felix Mak Hoi-kuoh, Kowloon Bay

Observatory could have acted earlier

The red rainstorm warning announcement by the Observatory on Tuesday was late and it caused a lot of trouble for ­parents.

Those who were already at work, or on their way, had to go to schools to take their children home. This was very inconvenient for them.

The Observatory has a nine-day forecast so surely it should have known sooner that a red rainstorm warning would have to be issued and contacted the Education Bureau in advance.

It appears that it waited until the warning was raised to inform the bureau and this delay was disruptive for many more ­citizens than was necessary.

Enoch Yeung, Tseung Kwan O

Now TV prime example of ‘us and them’

Recently I renewed my Now TV agreement for three years, because of their sports package. This included soccer, motorsports and cycling.

I was informed that the contract with Eurosport (the only channel showing cycling) will be cancelled at the end of this month. So no more cycling, which was one of the reasons I had renewed my contract.

A phone call with customer services resulted in an offer of a badminton channel, a Chinese movie channel or an American football channel as a replacement. If I wanted any of these channels, I would have signed for them when I renewed my ­contract.

Obviously Now TV, based on commercial considerations, can in its one-sided way decide not to honour a contract signed by both parties.

Try, as a customer, cancelling the contract you signed. This is exactly what makes Hong Kong such an unhappy society.

There is no social responsibility by the tycoons who reign in Hong Kong, no taking responsibility for the business decisions they have made.

If as a normal player on the stock market, you invest in shares and lose, you accept the consequences. Firms like Now TV write their own rules, which means they never lose. Worst of all is the fact that they get away with it.

Yes, Hong Kong is in turmoil. And, yes, Hong Kong people are becoming more determined to fight for what is owed to them ­instead of accepting what has been taken from them.

Peter den Hartog, Tuen Mun

Death penalty not justice, just revenge

Cheng Chieh was executed on Tuesday in Taiwan for the killing of four people in a mass stabbing on the Taipei underground in 2014.

The decision to execute him led to a heated debate about capital punishment and I do not think he should have been sentenced to death.

I see the death penalty as an act of revenge and such acts tend to repeat themselves. It is a ­triumph of anger over intellect.

Nor does capital punishment act as a deterrent.

If it did, then why is it that people keep killing in societies where it is in force, including in Taiwan?

Christie Wong Wing, Yau Yat Chuen

Child abuse must be a priority issue

I refer to the letter by Tom ­Mulvey (“Department has no long-term planning to help abused children”, May 9).

I agree with him that long-term planning is required by the government to deal with the problem of child abuse in Hong Kong.

The problem is getting worse with cases of abuse increasing and this is a serious problem that has to be addressed.

It is an issue that must be given priority by the government, since someone can suffer lifelong trauma as a result of abuse they experienced during childhood.

Children who are victims suffer from serious psychological problems, such as low self-esteem, insomnia and an inability to communicate with others. In severe cases, they may have post-traumatic stress disorder and may need medication.

Education is the key to ­reducing incidences of abuse. Parents who might be potential offenders can benefit from ­education so they can recognise the impact of such abuse.

However, some adults will still offend and so penalties need to be increased to act as a deterrent.

The government must recognise that more must be done to curb abuse and offer greater protection to children.

Mary Ko, Tseung Kwan O