Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hong Kong Hospitals Inundated By Flu Cases

WEEK 3 Severe Flu - Credit HK Flu Express


Although we won't get another Hong Kong Flu Express report for another two days, already we're seeing indications in the media, and through HK CHP reports, that Hong Kong is - for the second time in 6 months - battling a severe flu season.
Five days ago, in Hong Kong Flu Express Week 3: Flu has Increased Markedly, the CHP reported  `92 severe influenza cases among all ages have been reported, including 47 deaths'  since the start of Epi Week 2.
Since then, the numbers have, according to a report today in the SCMP, jumped to `144 severe flu cases were reported for patients of all ages, including 77 deaths' as of Monday.
Last Friday, the CHP announced they had ordered additional doses of flu vaccine (see DH procures additional seasonal influenza vaccines from vaccine suppliers) which are `. . . .expected to arrive in Hong Kong in early February at the earliest.'
Today the Hong Kong Hospital Authority has announced an emergency infusion of 500 Million HKD ($64 Million USD) in order to cope with what they call  `. . .  stringent challenges facing public hospitals at the moment'.

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     In response to media enquiries following the announcement by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, today (January 30) of an additional $500 million allocation to the Hospital Authority (HA) for coping with the demand caused by the winter surge, the HA spokesperson gave the following reply:

     The HA welcomes the one-off additional allocation of $500 million from the Government for timely implementation of a series of short-term measures to help relieve the heavy work pressure facing front-line healthcare staff under the current winter surge.

     While expressing gratitude for the Government's additional allocation, the HA will deploy the resources to implement various targeted measures including the increase of healthcare manpower. The funding will be used to hire more clerical staff and clerical assistants to assist nurses in handling clerical as well as patient care duties. With the further extension of the Special Honorarium Scheme to cover ward clerks, the administrative work of front-line nurses will be further relieved.

     Furthermore, the HA will expedite the process of abolishing the policy on incremental pay freeze for the first two years of newly recruited nurses. The HA will discuss the implementation details in close collaboration with nurses groups with a view to boosting the morale of front-line staff. 

     The HA recognises the stringent challenges facing public hospitals at the moment and thus has deployed all available manpower and resources to cope. We also deeply appreciate our front-line staff for their professionalism and dedication in taking care of the patients. 

     As at January 28, the HA had additionally recruited 1 248 temporary nurses to meet with the upsurge in demand and additional workload. The HA will continue to actively recruit more manpower to meet demand.

     For 2017-18, the HA was committed to recruiting 2 130 full-time nurses. As at December 2017, a total of 1 842 nurses were in place, accounting for 86 per cent of the planned total. In the coming year (2018-19), we plan to recruit 2 230 full-time nurses.

Ends/Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Issued at HKT 19:05

The latest Hospital Occupancy Statistics (as of Jan 28th) show an average of 111% occupancy, with United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong topping the list at 127%.


Meanwhile the daily HK CHP press releases this week continue to feature outbreaks, and severe cases, of (primarily) Influenza B, followed by H1N1 and then H3N2.

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