Coronavirus: Hongkongers wait up to 8 hours to see doctors, as emergency wards strain under pressure
Hospital bed occupancy stood at 113 per cent on Tuesday, while authorities urge patients with ‘non-urgent’ conditions to visit outpatient facilitiesDr Gladys Kwan, chief manager at the Hospital Authority, says pressure may continue to ramp up during holiday seasonHong Kong healthcare and hospitalsKahon ChanPublished: 9:55pm, 20 Dec, 2022Why you can trust SCMP
Residents flocked to the emergency departments of Hong Kong’s public hospitals again on Tuesday, with some patients waiting up to eight hours to see a doctor and in the case of one desperate elderly woman, 16 hours to be admitted to a ward.
The surge in patients, which frontline doctors said started weeks ago when the city began recording an uptick in daily Covid-19 cases, has prompted hospital authorities to renew their appeal that people with mild or “non-urgent” conditions seek treatment at public outpatient clinics or family doctors.
Dr Gladys Kwan, a chief manager at the Hospital Authority, said that more than 5,300 people had visited the city’s emergency departments at public hospitals on Monday, and about a fifth of them had been hospitalised. Bed occupancy stood at 113 per cent on Tuesday.
She said pressure on the public hospitals might mount during the holiday season, adding that the authorities would keep tabs on the situation and deploy more resources when needed.
Hong Kong on Tuesday reported 14,982 Covid-19 infections, 870 of which were imported, and 33 related deaths. The city’s tally for the pandemic stands at 2,385,285 cases and 11,243 fatalities.