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Long waiting times at Hong Kong public hospitals for mentally ill patients

20 March 2017

Low medical manpower coupled with surging demand see wait times of up to more than three years.

Patients with mental illness need to wait up to more than three years to see a doctor at public hospitals because medical manpower has failed to meet surging demand for such services.

A review of official statistics for the past five years by the Post found 225,900 psychiatric patients had been treated in public hospitals as of December 2015, a 20 per cent increase, but doctors treating them grew by only 3 per cent to 344 last year.

Furthermore, only two community psychiatric nurses – who received specific psychiatric care training and act as case managers for discharged patients – have been added over the past five years, taking the total number to 127, despite those with severe mental illness climbing 7 per cent from 44,600 in 2011 to 48,000 in 2015. The Hospital Authority, the body in charge of public hospitals, could not provide any patient figures for last year.

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