Successful contingency plan reintroduced after Singapore case Simple gadgets, strict visitor screening and infection control paid off for one private hospital during the Sars outbreak - and it is not changing a winning formula. Matilda International Hospital on The Peak reintroduced its Sars contingency plan this month following reports of the new Sars case in Singapore, which emerged on September 9. The hospital had previously dropped its contingency plan on June 24. Matilda's chief executive officer, Mary Rafferty, says it will review the need for the plan every month from now on. She points to the fact that Matilda's procedures were so strict during the outbreak that the hospital saw a slight increase in maternity cases - with pregnant women travelling from as far as the New Territories and Kowloon to give birth at the hospital. Ms Rafferty said that the hospital had expected to have to protect the few patients it had during Sars, not to have an increase in business. 'They [the patients] thought we were so strict here that we were likely to be safe,' she said. It was on March 18 that Matilda implemented its Sars contingency plan, which includes a strict admissions policy limiting one visitor per patient, per day, and isolating patients with fever, one to a room. 'We made that decision [to introduce the plan] to protect the patients. We have been very realistic. I do not think any hospital can be all things to all men,' Ms Rafferty said. 'If Sars re-emerges we will do exactly what we did when we implemented our policy in March.' The hospital bought five new pipe air-exchange units, at $700 a piece, to pump fresh air into the corridors, said Margaret Yen, clinical operations general manager. Ms Rafferty added that the number of Gurkha guards was doubled 'to do screening, direct the visitors and alert the clinical side that there is a suspected Sars case'. With the plan back in place, once again the guards will ask any suspected Sars case to put on a mask until a clinical employee takes them to the triage area. Linda Wills, general manager for clinical governance, said she hoped private hospitals would play a role in easing the burden on public hospitals in the event of Sars II. Meanwhile, a green alert was raised by the public Caritas Medical Centre last night after 10 women from an old-age home in Shamshuipo came down with fever. Initial tests showed the women, aged 61 to 101,were suffering from the flu. All were in stable condition.