Updated at 5.47pm: The government was planning to raise medical charges for non-Hong Kong citizens next year - in face of the growing pressure on public medical services as more mainlanders come to Hong Kong, local media reported on Tuesday. Medical charges such as hospital, clinical and emergency services fees for non-local residents may be increased to a level similar - or higher - than that in private hospitals. Latest Hospital Authority statistics showed more than 5,000 mainland women crossed the border to deliver their babies in Hong Kong between April and September. The figure went up by 30 per cent compared with the same period in 2003. The unpaid medical fees of non-local residents reached about $59.6 million in the year 2003 to 2004. The figure almost tripled when compared with the $21.9 million delinquent payments in the previous year. Measures including an increase in the hospital deposit - which is currently $33,000 - may also be implemented next year. The Hospital Authority is considering launching some packages with minimum charges for pregnant women. This is to counter them from fleeing before paying or obtaining hospital discharge approvals from doctors. To avoid increasing bad debts arising from unpaid fees, the authority may charge those non-local patients - who had failed to pay their medical bills - additional fees. It may also refuse to offer them non-emergency services. The Hospital Authority is facing a deficit of $600 million this year.