Baptist Hospital sees monthly deficits after birth ban on mainland Chinese mothers

Baptist confident that monthly deficits can be reversed by growing demand for surgery

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 March, 2013, 6:06am

The Baptist Hospital has recorded unprecedented monthly deficits since the government banned mainland pregnant women with non-local husbands from giving birth in local hospitals - a former money-making service for the medical industry.

But the hospital says it is not concerned about the loss and expects to make it up through growing demand for surgery.

Since the zero-quota rule came into effect at the beginning of this year, the number of monthly births has fallen from about 1,000 to 200, prompting the hospital to slash the number of beds in its maternity section.

But three mainland women - one with twins - have given birth at the hospital in emergency situations.

All were reported immediately to the government, the hospital's newly-appointed director of medical services, Dr Alex Yu Wai-yin, said yesterday.

They were among five gate-crashers recorded by the department of health since the ban.

"We don't take bookings from [mainland parents] and we have turned away mothers," Yu said.

Hospital chief executive Raymond Chen Chung-i said the deficit was expected "and we are not very worried".

"The need for surgery - especially the more complicated procedures - is growing, and I think private hospitals will be focusing on this."

Chen said he was confident that the hospital could re-adjust its services. The fee rise of 5 to 6 per cent due mid-year would help to minimise the loss.

"With a rapidly greying population and an emphasis in public-private medical services collaboration, there is still much room for development, and I tend to hold a positive attitude towards the future," Chen said.

The number of beds for mothers and newborns in the maternity ward have both been reduced from 154 to 70.

Nurses and medical support staff in the maternity wards will be reassigned to normal or surgery wards with no staff cuts required, he said.

Upgrades, property purchases and construction of a new block are expected to eat up about HK$1 billion of the hospital's HK$2.7 billion reserves within the next two to three years.