Cancellation of Causeway Bay Day Procedure Centre licence prompts investigation by Department of Health

560
Picture for illustration purpose only.

9th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) In response to media inquiries regarding the cancellation of a licence for a day procedure centre (DPC) in Causeway Bay, the Department of Health (DH) has released an official statement today.

The DH explains that the licence of the DPC in Causeway Bay was cancelled in accordance with the provisions of the Private Healthcare Facilities Ordinance (Cap. 633). The Office for Regulation of Private Healthcare Facilities (ORPHF) of the DH has published the relevant information on its website, with the effective date of licence cancellation being 9th December, 2023.

During a routine inspection conducted by the DH at the concerned DPC, several violations of the Code of Practice for Day Procedure Centres under the Private Healthcare Facilities Ordinance were identified. These infractions include the possession and suspected use of an unlicensed X-ray machine, suspected handling of injectable pharmaceutical products that may be unregistered, inadequate maintenance of medical records, and failure to provide pertinent information about personnel involved in patient consultation and drug prescription.

The DH has discovered that the DPC possessed and likely utilised an unlicensed X-ray machine primarily for X-ray fluoroscopic examination of the limbs. It is important to note that under normal circumstances, the radiation emitted by the X-ray machine would not have a significant impact on human health. Additionally, the X-ray machine has been properly marked and sealed.

Furthermore, the DPC is suspected of handling injectable vitamin preparations that are potentially unregistered. Injectable vitamin preparations are commonly used for treating vitamin-deficiency diseases. The DH has requested the DPC to contact patients who may have received the suspected unregistered pharmaceutical products. To date, the DH has not received any reports of adverse events related to this DPC.

In light of the suspected illegal medical practices and professional misconduct, the DH has referred the matter to the Police and the Medical Council of Hong Kong for further investigation and follow-up.

The possession or use of an unlicensed X-ray machine is considered an offence under the Radiation Ordinance (Cap. 303), with a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and a two-year imprisonment upon conviction. Similarly, the illegal supply of unregistered pharmaceutical products, as per the Pharmacy and Poisons Regulations (Cap. 138A), carries a maximum penalty of a HK$100,000 fine and a two-year imprisonment upon conviction.

The DH is diligently pursuing the investigation into the suspected use of an unlicensed X-ray machine, the handling of potentially unregistered pharmaceutical products by the DPC, and any instances of obstructing or delaying authorised officers of the DH in performing their duties. Upon completion of the investigation, the DH will seek legal advice from the Department of Justice regarding potential prosecution. As necessary, relevant enforcement agencies or authorities will be notified.