Emergency visits to Hong Kong hospitals dip after hitting Lunar New Year peak

But overall inpatient bed occupancy rate across city at 98 per cent as flu season continues

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 February, 2017, 10:39pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 February, 2017, 11:00pm

The number of people visiting the city’s public hospital emergency wards has dropped after reaching its Lunar New Year holiday season peak.

A total of 5,300 people visited emergency wards at the city’s 17 public hospitals on Saturday, representing a 13.8 per cent retreat from the peak on January 30, the third day of the Lunar New Year, official figures show.

Emergency ward visits typically number around 5,900 from March to September.

The overall inpatient bed occupancy rate across the city was 98 per cent on Saturday, while the rate at seven hospitals exceeded 100 per cent.

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There were 962 people hospitalised on Saturday, higher than the daily average of 850.

Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin and Caritas Medical Centre in Kowloon were the most fully occupied on Saturday, according to bed occupancy rates.

Tuen Mun Hospital had the most visits, with 524, followed by Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Jordan with 480.

During the winter surge, at least 6,146 people visited the emergency ward on January 30, with over 1,000 having to be hospitalised.

The spike in local cases marked a 45 per cent increase compared with the first day of the Lunar New Year, when there were 4,247 visits.

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However, this year’s peak was still below that of last year, when visit numbers hit 6,872.

The Hospital Authority had earlier predicted the peak winter surge would take place close to the Lunar New Year holiday, anticipating visitors would have to face longer waiting times.

Some 500 temporary beds had been reserved and 23,000 service slots were being added in general outpatient clinics to tackle the increase in admissions during the winter surge period.

Cluster performance chief manager Dr Ian Cheung earlier said the city’s ageing population has been one of the factors for the increasing number of visits, compared with previous years.