Upon the full development of the North Lantau New Town, the government would provide an additional 170 beds under the Phase Two development in a site adjacent to the Phase One development. The construction works of NLTH Phase One were substantially completed in December 2012 and the hospital commenced operation in September 2013 under the management of the Hospital Authority (HA)’s Kowloon West Cluster.
Commissioning of some medical services later than the proposed datesIn November and December 2011, the HA management respectively informed the HA’s Medical Services Development Committee (MSDC) and the HA Board that NLTH Phase One would start to provide service in phases from the third quarter of 2013 and migrate to full service in the third quarter of 2016.
However, audit examination found that five types of medical services at NLTH Phase One (namely, 24-hour accident and emergency service, day rehabilitation centre, specialist out-patient clinics on orthopaedics and traumatology and surgery, day surgery centre and 20 in-patient beds) were commissioned later than the respective commissioning dates as proposed by the HA management to the HA’s MSDC in 2011.
Furthermore, as of June 2017, some medical services had not yet been commissioned at the hospital, including: (a) specialist out-patient services for gynaecology and paediatrics (proposed for commissioning in the third quarter of 2014); (b) 20 day-beds for day-surgery patients (proposed for commissioning in the first quarter of 2014); and (c) a total of 120 in-patient beds (proposed for commissioning by the third quarter of 2016).
According to the HA, the key constraints for commissioning of medical services at NLTH Phase One were attributed to manpower shortage and competing needs across the HA.
Hospital building not fully utilisedIn December 2012, a total floor area of 13,729 m2 was constructed for the hospital building of NLTH Phase One. Audit analysis found that, as of June 2017, 2,867 m2 (21% of the total area of 13,729 m2) of the hospital building were vacant or had not been utilised for the intended functions.
These 2,867 m2 comprised 2,204 m2 for wards, 466 m2 for canteen and kitchen area and 197 m2 for the day surgery centre.
Under-utilisation of medical equipmentSince the commissioning of NLTH Phase One in 2013, the HA had procured 10 major medical equipment items (each costing $1 million or above) at a total cost of $32.7 million.
Audit noted that the utilisation of seven of the 10 major medical equipment items in 2016 was below 60% of the expected utilisation (ranging from 6% to 58%).
Audit also noted that, as of June 2017, the HA had not yet put into use some other medical equipment items (each costing less than $1 million) at NLTH Phase One since their procurement, and the warranty periods of all such items had already expired. MIMS
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