Sai Kung's only government maternity and childcare clinic - which has helped a generation of boat-dwellers and their babies - will close on Monday. The closure of the Mona Fong Maternal and Child Health Centre has raised concerns that patients will have to make long journeys to seek medical help. Mothers and babies needing specialised treatment will have to travel to either Tseung Kwan O or Ma On Shan. The closure has been lamented by local politicians and residents, including Chris Davis, who has lived in Sai Kung for 18 years and whose baby was cared for at the centre. Mr Davis yesterday remembered many boat-dwellers taking advantage of the service in the early 1990s. 'There were a lot of new babies on the fishing boats and sampans and the Mona Fong centre was packed,' he said. 'It's really sad that circumstances have forced this gem of Sai Kung to move.' Outside the clinic yesterday, a group of elderly Hakka and Tanka grandmothers said they would miss the familiar friendly service their families received for 16 years. 'The staff here are like family friends,' said one 82-year-old who identified herself as Madame Lau. Opened in 1988, the clinic provided a wide range of free maternity and child-care services. But attendance has dwindled in recent years. In 1990, doctors at Mona Fong saw 25,210 patients, but that number dropped to 18,862 in 1992. The next year, the clinic cut its 5?-day service to part-time operations. It was open only on Tuesdays and Thursdays last year, when, with numbers down to 7,686 patients, it was rumoured that the clinic would be closed. Sai Kung District Council chairman George Ng Sze-fuk said the closure was 'sad, but not necessarily bad'. 'Tseung Kwan O is fairly close to Sai Kung town,' Mr Ng said. 'While it may be more expensive to take children there, facilities and upgraded equipment and services will be a good thing.' A Department of Health spokesman said part-time clinics were being merged with other nearby facilities. The pooling of manpower resources at larger and better-equipped centres would mean better services to clients, he added.