Audit report attacks N. Lantau Hospital over waste

An auditor’s report has lambasted the North Lantau Hospital over its wasteful use of space and medical equipment.

Four years after being commissioned, a fifth of the hospital remains empty while tens of millions of dollars of equipment is under-used or has not been used at all, the report found.

In its October report to Legco, the Audit Commission revealed that of the hospital’s of 13,729 sq m, 2,867 sq m remained empty or “had not been utilised for the intended functions,” including 2,204 sq m in space allocated for wards.

In one instance, the commission staff recorded an empty ward being used as a gym.

Hospital ward gym (Source: Audit Commission)

The report also found that of the ten major items of medical equipment, seven were being used at a rate below 60% of the forecast level.

These included a HK$7 million heart scanning unit being used at a 22% rate, and a prescription dispenser and an anaesthetics information system, each costing more than HK$3 million, being used at below 50%.

Many smaller items had never been used at all, including 42 electric beds and ten electric wheelchairs.

Unused beds and wheelchairs (Source: Audit Commission)

The report noted that some medical services had still not been commissioned, such as an out-patient gynaecology and paediatrics service that had been promised for 2014, and the provision of day-beds for day surgery patients, proposed for 2016.

It chastised Hospital Authority (HA) management for failing to keep the board informed about the status of these services and on when they were expected to be deployed.

The commission urged the HA to make more precise estimates of its requirements and to determine whether under-utilised spaces and equipment could be put to gainful use.

2 Comments on Audit report attacks N. Lantau Hospital over waste

  1. Nina Gelladuga // November 22, 2017 at 4:04 pm // Reply

    Thank you for highlighting this issue. As a resident of Tung Chung, we have been waiting for the pediatrics services to be fully functional. There has been an increase in children’s population in the age of below 7. A lot of low to middle income families choose to live in tung chung due to the relatively cheaper rents in the village areas close to north lantau hospital. We have been waiting for an affordable and accessible family friendly out patient clinic and the north lantau hospital was a dream for us. Unfortunately up till now only emergency cases are prioritized in the hospital. Of course understandably without man power they couldn’t operate to full capacity. But if there is a facility, equipment and budget for it shouldn’t they be utilizing it by now? Every time my daughter would get sick I would try to call the north lantau outpatient clinic for an appointment but they are ALWAYS fully booked. So either we wait till our daughter’s illness gets worde so we can bring her to the emergency section or go to a private clinic which is not only expensive but also is not as thorough as the government hospital.

    I am hopeful this issue will be dealt with by the Hospital Authority. Kudos to the government agencies who do their jobs well!

    Like

    • The HA position is that it could not fill positions because it couldn’t find the staff. I don’t think it was part of the Audit Commission’s role to verify that, but it criticised that HA management did not inform their board about it. But that in itself is serious – if Tung Chung population is going to triple in the next few years they will have to fully resource the hospital, and the HA needs to be fully apprised of its staffing issues.

      Like

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