Public hospitals in Hong Kong are operating at over 100 percent capacity as the approaching flu season brings with it a surge in patient numbers, statistics released by the Hospital Authority have shown. In some cases, patients have been left sleeping in hospital corridors, one doctor told local media.

“With the approach of the winter surge, the Hospital Authority is closely monitoring the service demand of Accident and Emergency Departments and the occupancy rates of medical wards in public hospitals,” the Hospital Authority said on Monday.

overcrowding hospitals
The latest winter surge in patients has lead to overcrowding in some hospitals.

First-time attendance rates for patients at the Accident and Emergency clinics at public hospitals owas 5,532 on Sunday. Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Tuen Mun Hospital and United Christian Hospital had the highest number of first-time attendances, admitting 523, 507, and 471 patients respectively.

Meanwhile, the medical inpatient bed occupancy rate at midnight was at 102 percent of the hospitals’ overall capacity. At Tseung Kwan O Hospital, the occupancy rate stood at 118 percent.

A doctor at Tuen Mun Hospital told Apple Daily that the medical wards were always full. Sometimes, and they had to cram five to ten extra beds in the room.

With the latest winter surge, many patients have been admitted for cardiovascular diseases or strokes. At one point, there were more than 50 beds at the ward, with some patients sleeping in the hallways.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.