Currently, mainland women pay HK$ 20,000 (about US$ 2,600) for a three-day stay in hospital, but authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk proposed the fee to rise to between HK,000 and HK,000 (US$ 3,800-6,400).
The proposal came after talks between Hong Kong Health Chief York Chow Yat-ngok and mainland
About 30 per cent of the babies delivered in
Also last year, 14,460 non-local women used public obstetric services, about 50 per cent more than in 2003, putting a heavy burden on frontline medical staff.
Better health care explains the influx, some experts say. Others instead believe that it is a way to get around
Whatever the reasons local authorities are concerned about the greater costs and the higher risks of infections for medical staff, such as HIV, from patients who have not had proper health checks before coming to
This is why the authorities will launch a drive to recruit more nurses and midwives to boost maternity wards.
Last week Hong Kong Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan proposed local mothers have priority over non-residents in obstetric services.
Many women also fail to pay hospital fees. An Audit Commission report in October said that hospitals failed to collect unpaid fees amounting to more than HK$ 321 million over the past five years, 70 per cent by non-locals.
And because of
“We do not even know if these babies are here to stay,” asked Wong Siu-lun, convenor of the Council for Sustainable Development's support group on population policy. “So it is better to first have a more in-depth study of the matter”. (PB)