The Hospital Authority is being urged to allocate HK$10 million to increase specialist staff to treat adult patients with the blood disease thalassaemia and the blood-clotting ailment haemophilia at more flexible hours.
'The life expectancy of the two illnesses has changed but the Hospital Authority has not catered enough to these patients' needs,' Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit said yesterday.
In the past, patients would often begin treatment as children and would not be expected to live beyond the age of 40. They continued to undergo care as adults in children's wards.
Last year, the authority laid down a policy to phase out treating patients over the age of 18 in children's wards, however, no additional support was provided to staff absorbing the influx of adult patients. In the past 18 months, three doctors out of seven who rotate through public hospitals specialising in treating the two illnesses have quit over the workload.
The Civic Party, the Thalassaemia Association and the Haemophilia Society want the authority to allocate the extra funds to increase specialist staff and provide blood transfusions on Saturdays and after hours. At the moment, transfusions are only available during week-day office hours.