Public hospitals in Hong Kong may stop admitting mainland mothers seeking to deliver their child in the territory to keep more resources for the use of local women.
Said senior Hospital Authority official Dr Cheung Wai-lun in a radio interview, “We are evaluating next year’s quota for non-local pregnant women. There is a chance we might further lower it or we may even stop admitting them.”
The Hong Kong government has already drastically reduced the quota of births set for non-local women in public hospitals from 10,000 to 3,400, but further cuts remain possible.
Following the cut in the quota, agencies providing Hong Kong maternity services to mainland mothers-to-be are said to have already increased their fees substantially because of the greater difficulty in securing a hospital bed:
The agencies say maternity beds in Hong Kong’s public and private hospitals are now very difficult to secure and that prices are rising accordingly.
“The new policy will most likely reduce the quota, and to order a bed in a Hong Kong hospital will not be as easy as before,” an agent surnamed Jin from a Shenzhen-based Hong Kong maternity services company told a China Daily reporter who posed as an expectant mother.
“Now it’s not possible to order a bed in September. And there are not many left in October,” she said.
“Hong Kong has slashed the numbers of beds for mainland mothers in recent years, so the beds will undoubtedly be more difficult to order. The price, of course, will be more expensive.”
Meanwhile, mainland couples who deliver their second child in Hong Kong will be fined for violating the country’s family planning policies, warned Zhang Feng, family planning department director of Guangdong province. And government employees found to breaking the law may even lose their jobs, he added.
“It doesn’t matter if they give birth to their second child on the mainland or in other countries and regions, they have violated the country’s policies and the province’s regulations,” said Zhang.
Guangdong couples form a significant proportion of the parents of the 41,000 mainland babies born in Hong Kong in 2010. Mainland babies formed some 47% of the 88,000 babies born in the special administrative region that year.