In view of the recent incident at Hospital Authority (HA) involving omitted drug prescription and delayed disclosure, we believe HA is taking necessary steps in setting up a root cause analysis investigation panel at United Christian Hospital (UCH) to look into this incident, and an independent panel to review its Sentinel Event/Serious Untoward Event Policy separately. While such investigations are necessary, we wish to draw attention to underlying systemic factors, beyond focusing on accountability of incidents, in order to enhance patient’s quality of care in the long run.
Patient care is at the core of all healthcare services. In fact, HA puts “people-centred care” as its first and foremost organizational value. However, frontline experience from patients and healthcare professionals reflect that the day-to-day reality is far from such ideal. While every healthcare professional is responsible for upholding professional standards, the increasing workload at the public sector is indeed placing huge demands on healthcare professionals. In order to create an enabling environment for each individual healthcare professional to deliver people-centred care, there is an urgent need to identify systemic dysfunctions in our current healthcare system:
1. In face of increasing patient load, resource allocation is misguided by focusing excessively on quantitative output and neglecting quality of care.
2. The current systems of computer software and clinical guidelines are unhelpful for doctors to review and manage patients’ conditions holistically.
3. Our healthcare system is centred inappropriately on a “culture of specialists” instead of holistic patient care.
 Press Release 2017-05-10: Hospital Authority Pledges Review of Sentinel Event Policy. Available at: http://www.ha.org.hk/haho/ho/pad/170510eng.pdf
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