Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that an extra HK$500 million has been reserved for the Hospital Authority to handle the winter flu surge.

Over the past two weekends, frontline public hospital doctors and nurses have protested against a lack of resources and their heavy workload, as over-run hospitals struggle to battle flu season.

Lam said ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday that the extra funding will be a one-off. She said that current funding for Hospital Authority stands at HK$61.5 billion – HK$6 billion more than the last financial year.

Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

She said the Hospital Authority will increase the speed of hiring part-time doctors and nurses, such as retirees, and will improve extra pay for doctors, increase resources for management, and reduce the administrative work of medical staff.

“I have noticed that the Hospital Authority told me that it actually has enough funding, and the funding is going through its networks,” Lam said. “Regardless, in order to allow the Hospital Authority to implement the measures I have mentioned smoothly, and allow frontline staff to feel our efforts, I announce that we have reserved another HK$500 million for the Hospital Authority.”

Lam said thanked medical staff for their hard work.

She also said she noticed that some doctors and medical associations have proposed some measures such as reviewing the medical system, speeding up healthcare for grassroots people, the building of new hospitals and redevelopment of old hospitals, as well as increasing number of medical students. Lam said she agreed with the measures but they would take time.

public hospital
Waiting room at a public hospital. File Photo: Citizen News.

Gov’t u-turns

Meanwhile, Lam also said she has reflected upon herself over recent controversies concerning livelihood matters. The government was recently forced to make several u-turns over cross-harbour tunnel tolls and elderly welfare.

“The implementation surrounding these matters caused the public to doubt the government’s ability to govern, as well as my own leadership capability. I completely accept the criticism,” she said.

She said her administration has been dealing with many urgent and old issues.

“Can we be more careful, comprehensive and explanatory in dealing with the issues, and can we have a deeper interaction with the public? I completely accept [that],” she said.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.