For every elderly person able to move into a nursing home in the city, at least three die waiting for a bed, the welfare sector says, demanding that the government remedy the situation as soon as possible. Chua Hoi-wai of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service said 1,866 elderly people had moved into nursing homes since 2005 but 6,276 old people waiting for admission had died during that time. 'It is shocking,' he said. Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung told the Legislative Council last month that 11,368 elderly people had died while waiting for care-and-attention places between 2004 and last year. There are two kinds of homes for the elderly offering intensive care in Hong Kong. Nursing homes take care of old people who are more frail than those in care-and-attention homes. Mr Cheung did not say how many elderly people were able to move into care-and-attention homes each year but noted that there were only 2,086 beds in such homes. 'In an area where the economy is so prosperous, other than the word 'shame', I cannot think of any description,' Mr Chua said. Lam Man-chiu, assistant executive director of Against Elderly Abuse, agreed. 'Obviously, the government fails to take care of the needs of elderly,' he said. He accused the government of misallocating resources. 'The government set aside HK$10 million for continuing education for old people in the recent budget but turned a blind eye to the long waiting list for elderly homes. Does it mean learning is more vital than living?' The lawmaker for the welfare sector, Peter Cheung Kwok-che, said the problem had existed for a long time and the government should address the situation. 'The government wants the elderly to live in the community and it offers many day-care centre services and other facilities so that old people can live in their homes,' he said. 'But then we are now talking about elderly people who need intensive care. 'People who need to be admitted to these kinds of elderly homes are those whose condition is so poor that there is no way they can live comfortably at home, no matter what services the government offers.' He said the government should build more homes for the elderly as soon as possible. The Social Welfare Department said the government took the issue seriously. 'As the secretary for labour and welfare said in Legco, the government will deploy more resources to improve conditions, like building more elderly homes and buying more bed spaces from private elderly homes,' a department spokesman said. In the latest budget, the government allocated HK$3.9 billion for services for the elderly, including the building of two old people's homes with 150 beds, which would cost HK$55 million.