The accident-and-emergency ward at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin may be popular with mainland women rushing to give birth, but among medical graduates this year it is not their workplace of choice.
None of the doctors who graduated this year opted to join the department. Their lack of interest means a continuing shortage of manpower in the ward, which needs three more doctors to boost its team of about 30.
The heavy workload was likely to blame, Hospital Authority New Territories East cluster chief executive Dr Fung Hong said.
"Probably the work at the Prince of Wales Hospital's emergency ward is more demanding," Fung said.
He said a lack of medical workers was also a problem at other public hospitals' emergency wards.
Last year, Prince of Wales was one of the hospitals that came under pressure in its emergency ward because of the influx of mainland women being rushed in as they were about to give birth. The parents bypassed the need to make prior bookings, putting stress on the hospital's obstetrics and neonatal services.
The hospital delivered about 7,400 babies, of which 326 were accepted through emergency ward, including those at hospitals in the New Territories East cluster lacking obstetric wards.
Fung said he expected a similar number of babies to be born in the hospital this year, as it was the year of the dragon.
The neonatal intensive-care service at Prince of Wales had constantly exceeded capacity, with a usage rate of 110 per cent on average and up to 120 per cent during peak periods, the hospital said. Two or three temporary cots are added during these times. The unit now has 23 beds, one more than last year.