Low funding compared to other facilities may have contributed to Tuen Mun Hospital's prolonged poor surgical performance, lawmakers said yesterday.
They were commenting on a Hospital Authority report showing that the hospital's death rate after surgery has been among the highest of the 11 public hospitals for the past five years.
A doctors' representative earlier told a meeting of the Legislative Council health panel that the hospital had a 10 per cent staff shortage and the highest bedoccupancy rate in the city, with up to 60 people sometimes staying in a ward designed for 36.
Citing the authority's figures, panel chairman Dr Leung Ka-lau said the New Territories West hospital group, including Tuen Mun, received HK$4.7 million per 1,000 residents in this financial year. New Territories East had HK$4.9 million and Hong Kong Island West HK$8 million.
"New Territories West and East clusters are obviously receiving less funding than others," Leung said.
Dr Wong Chun-sing, surgical department representative of the Tuen Mun Hospital Doctors' Association, said the hospital's image contributed to a difficulty in obtaining staff. "The well-known heavy workload, added to the negative image, has made many new doctors reluctant to come and work in Tuen Mun Hospital," he told the panel.
Explaining the variations in funding, the authority's director of quality and safety, Dr Derrick Au Kit-sing, said the allocation took into account patients using a hospital outside the area they lived. He said the difference in resources received per patient on average was no more than 10 per cent across different hospital groupings.