Emergency services at the new Tin Shui Wai Hospital will begin on March 15, but it is not known when inpatient services can be launched. While the hospital expected to serve around 150 to 200 patients daily in the initial stages, operating daily from 8am to 4pm, those requiring admission would be sent to Tuen Mun or Pok Oi hospitals, which belong to the same group of public hospitals in New Territories West. Government pledges HK$200bn developments for public hospitals “We are coordinating with different clinical departments. It will also depend on manpower and other facilities ... we hope to launch inpatient services as soon as possible when sets of facilities are ready,” said Dr Simon Tang Yiu-hang, chief of the accident and emergency department of the New Territories West group of hospitals. Tang said the choice of hospital for patients needing inpatient services would be decided according to the type of care needed. For example, a patient requiring paediatric care would be sent to Tuen Mun, while someone needing admission to the medical ward would go to Pok Oi. He expected that around 20 per cent of patients using the emergency service would require hospital admission. The operating hours of Tin Shui Wai’s new service would be extended to 8am to 8pm in the fourth quarter of this year. But again the hospital could not tell when a 24-hour operation would be in place. “Manpower and coordination with other specialties will be of great importance ... we expect to handle acute patients and therefore detailed planning will be needed,” Tang said. The supply of doctors in the city is tight and will not be eased until next year, when the number of medical graduates increases from 320 to 420. So far 12 doctors and more than 40 nurses and other health care staff have been hired for the emergency department. Tang clarified that the 12 doctors, including eight fresh graduates, were newly hired and manpower at the other two acute hospitals was not affected.