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Hong Kong health care and hospitals

Two worst Hong Kong public hospitals for emergency surgeries named

In an assessment based on mortality rates, authorities say no significant reasons could be identified in explaining the less satisfactory results

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 9:09pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 11:02pm

North District Hospital and Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital performed worst in Hong Kong when it came to emergency surgeries, according to the latest assessment of public hospitals.

An annual report by the Hospital Authority released on Friday looked at the hospitals’ surgical performance based on mortality rates after operations. The assessment covered 17 public hospitals that offered major operations between July 2016 to June last year.

However, this was the first time since 2008/2009, when the assessment began, that no hospitals were considered to be underperforming in elective operations.

During the assessed period, a total of 5,756 emergency operations and 20,172 elective operations were performed. Overall crude mortality rates for elective procedures was 0.3 per cent, and the rate for emergencies was 5 per cent. Both categories saw record lows.

In emergency surgeries, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Tseung Kwan O Hospital performed better than their counterparts in terms of mortalities within 30 days after operation. But North District Hospital and Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital compared unfavourably.

Professor Paul Lai Bo-san, director of the authority’s surgical outcomes monitoring and improvement programme, said no significant reasons could be identified in explaining the less satisfactory results for the two hospitals.

“We could not see any apparent problems with the two hospitals,” said Lai. “Possibly their improvements[in reducing mortalities] were not as fast as other hospitals.”

For North District Hospital, the ratio of actual death to expected death in emergency procedures was within the range of one to 1.8 – meaning if one patient was expected to die, at most 1.8 people actually died. That ratio for Eastern Hospital was within the range of one to 1.6.

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Lai said the authority would ascertain whether the two hospitals could make better use of support from other hospitals to improve their performance. In one scenario, if the operating theatres at the original hospital were full, then patients requiring urgent procedures could be transferred to another institution.

North District Hospital said it would study the report in detail. The hospital also planned to review the entire treatment procedure for surgical patients and map out relevant improvement measures.

Eastern Hospital said it was aware of the report’s outcome and would pursue a thorough study and formulate measures to improve.