Recent investigations found that many of the more sophisticated medical devices that are generally available in more developed countries are outdated or lacking in Hong Kong’s public hospitals. Responding in part to these investigations, the Hong Kong government is allotting over $50 million to the Health Authority for medical equipment.
The Health Authority is Hong Kong’s public hospital agency and manages over fifty hospitals. It is expected to purchase many new MRI scanners, gamma cameras, cardiac catheter machines, linear accelerators, fluoroscopy machines, and radiography units. This development is significant because most of Hong Kong’s population only accesses healthcare through public hospitals. Many of Hong Kong’s medical devices are imported.
Compared to OECD countries, Hong Kong has very low figures for MRI scanner to population and CT scanner to population ratios. The Health Authority has identified this as an important issue to address this year, since some patients have to wait months for a diagnostic scan. In Hong Kong, there are less than three CT scanners for every one million people, which is just one-third the number of scanners that Britain or Singapore have for the same number of people. Similarly, there are less than two MRI scanners for every one million people, which is also only about one-third the number of scanners that Britain or Singapore have for the same number of people.
To help stay on top of medical technology availability, the Health Authority will create a system to consistently evaluate the medical devices in public hospitals. Equipment will be considered for replacement based on number of years in use, availability of new or innovative devices, and more. Thus, Hong Kong’s hospitals will likely continue to purchase medical technology regularly even after the surge in medical equipment procurement this year.