By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The SAR Government expects to invest up to MOP 10 billion to upgrade and expand the infrastructure of the public medical system by 2020.
The emergency department of the new hospital complex to be built in Cotai between the Macau Dome and the Seac Pai Van reservoir will first become operational “no later than 2015”, director of the Health Bureau (SS) Lei Chin Ion told reporters at a press conference yesterday.
According to Lei, construction of the whole complex occupying a total of 50,000 square metres of land is expected to be completed in 2020.
The shoaly land where Macau’s second public hospital will be situated is currently being filled and levelled.
While this vast project will still take some more years to complete, the SS chief disclosed that the provisional emergency ward and inpatient rehabilitation service at the University Hospital in Taipa should be open in half a year.
According to the 10-year plan to improve the local medical infrastructure announced at the Government Headquarters, a preliminary estimate of MOP 10 billion will be spent over the next decade.
However, Lei stressed that it is a “very rough” estimation since the planning of the Cotai hospital is not yet finalised.
A helipad may be included in the complex but Lei said it is a “complicated issue” and the bureau is studying the possibility to build one with other related departments.
He denied that the Government had plans to launch a helicopter rescue service.
More health centres
The Government plans to expand and reconstruct the public health centres in St. Lourenço’s Parish, Coloane, Inner Harbour, Tap Seac and Fai Chi Kei.
At least five new health centres will also be built, located in the Ilha Verde quarter, Estrada Coronel Nicolau de Mesquita in Taipa (where affordable housing is being built), Seac Pai Van, the new reclaimed area and Macau’s northern district.
Lei Chin Ion said all the newly established health centres must include a methadone clinic under the 10-year plan.
With regard to the existing health centres, he said except the one in Areia Preta, there is no plan at the moment to implement such service at other centres.
Furthermore, the expansion work of the emergency department of the Conde de São Januário Hospital (CHCSJ), which will triple the area and increase the number of sick beds to 100, is expected to complete at the end of 2012.
Lei said the bureau is also preparing for the construction of a 100-sick bed specialist building at CHCSJ which will include an isolation ward of infectious diseases.
A 100-sick bed rehabilitation hospital is also planned in Ka-Ho, Coloane to replace the 23-sick bed rehabilitation centre run by the Federation of Trade Unions.
According to the SS director, Macau currently has about 1,200 sick beds and the number will jump by 1,000 in 2020.
However, the supply to the local population will remain below that of Hong Kong, where there is 5.02 sick beds per 1,000 people at present, Lei said.
In response to the increase in medical infrastructure and facilities, the SS began to reinforce training for medical professionals some years ago and it is expected that Macau will have an extra 180 general practitioners and 150 specialists by 2015.
Lei said the new hospital complex will need 200 doctors and 600 nurses, while the five new health centres will require a total of 45 doctors and 100 nurses.
While the two nursing colleges in the territory have raised new student intakes, the bureau has also implemented training for health care assistants a couple of years ago aimed at easing the increasing demand for nurses.
On the other hand, a chief executive dispatch released yesterday announced the formation of a medical infrastructure committee to “coordinate, follow-up and evaluate” various public investment outlined in the 10-year plan.
The committee is headed by the chief executive and formed by the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Secretary for Transport and Public Works, director and the two deputy directors of the Health Bureau, director of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau, chief of the Infrastructure Development Office as well as two representatives from the Chief Executive’s Office.