Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mainland Chinese women flocking to HK to give birth

More and more women from China are going to Hong Kong to give birth especially those who are breaking China's One Child policy and those who are eyeing the Hong Kong citizenship for their child. But the influx of mainland pregnant Chinese women to Hong Kong hospitals has sparked outrage from Hong Kong women who are pressuring their government to make it difficult for Chinese women to come to Hong Kong to give birth. From BBC:
A group of angry Hong Kong mothers, led by Ella Lau - herself due to give birth within a couple of months - may have pushed the government into taking action.

She and others became concerned about deteriorating standards of care and were resentful of outsiders coming in, jumping queues and getting services they had not wholly paid for.

"This is really making us feel worry about what kind of service we are going to receive. We think this is bit unfair to us as we are the tax payer in Hong Kong, we are supposed to enjoy a quality service," Ella Lau said.

Fellow protester Vivian Leung got frightened after reading several websites dedicated to the issue, including stories of local women left lying in corridors and deprived of pre-birth checks because hospital staff have been over-run.

"The problem is when mainland pregnant women come to Hong Kong they usually come at the very last minute. "I have seen some pregnant women waiting at emergency, at the waiting room, by themselves, waiting to the last minute till their waters broken and then they stand up," she said.

Hong Kong is not used to facing emergencies over childbirth. It has one of the best delivery systems in the world and for decades has offered comprehensive care to mothers.

"We're approaching 7,000 births in one single hospital," said Dr Danny Leung at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

"And 33 percent are from the mainland. That's not a problem by itself. The main problem is that over 70% of them did not have any booking with us. So by the time they come for delivery, we don't know about them. That puts a lot of pressure. So when they come for delivery it's an emergency situation."

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