Via the South China Morning Post: Authority apologises as hospitals struggle to cope with surge in flu cases. Excerpt:
A senior Hospital Authority official has apologised to patients forced to sleep on temporary beds and facing long waits as major public hospitals struggle to cope with a recent surge in flu cases.
Around 600 non-urgent operations will be delayed in the coming weeks as manpower is diverted to deal with demand, Dr Lee Koon-hung, the authority's director of cluster services, said yesterday.
"We extend our apologies to patients enduring long waits in the accident and emergency departments and crowded environments in the medical wards," Lee said.
Patient numbers peaked at the start of this month but had fallen in recent days. "If the cold weather continues into the lunar new year, we expect the numbers to rise again," said Lee.
About 20 per cent of emergency department inpatients in the week to January 15 were suffering from influenza, the highest proportion since last year's winter flu peak, according to Department of Health data.
Daily visits to all emergency units jumped from an average of 5,800 to 6,000 this month. Numbers peaked at 7,050 on January 6, the highest single-day intake for two years.