Information Note
LegCo Panel on Health Services
Nursing Manpower


This paper reports on the latest review of nursing manpower situation in public hospitals.


2. Manpower planning is a continuous process taking into account changing service needs, casemix and operational requirements. The Hospital Authority (HA) has developed a set of Nursing Manpower Indicators as management tool to assist in staff planning and deployment. These indicators are intended to reflect front-line manpower requirements based on prevailing nursing activities and patient dependency.

3. In keeping with this principle, it is important to keep the Nursing Manpower Indicators under review to ensure effectiveness and applicability. To this end, HA has set up a task force with the participation of staff groups and front-line nurses to formulate a list of nursing activities and related patient dependencies for survey and analysis. While different staff groups have offered valuable advice on this exercise, a great deal of work will have to be carried out before the review can be finalised given the increasing complexity and widening scope of nursing activities.

4. During the interim period, it is useful to have a broad assessment of the nursing manpower requirements to facilitate resource planning and priority setting.

Scope of Assessment

5. An interim assessment of nursing manpower requirements was carried out in nine major public hospitals and the findings presented to the LegCo Panel on Health Services on 10 June 1996. In order to facilitate the 1997/98 annual planning process, HA has recently conducted another review on the nursing manpower situation for all public hospitals.

Nursing Manpower Situation

6. In the latest review, NMLs and professional judgement based on patient activities in the 12-month period from October 1995 to September 1996 were used for reference. The exercise concluded that an additional 580 nurses will be required in a number of clinical specialties under pressure as follows -





Critical Care#


Additional Nurses






* including geriatric

# including intensive care and neonatal intensive care units


7. Supply and demand of nursing manpower may fluctuate from time to time due to changes in the employment market, patient demands, advancement in medical technology and new clinical practices. The task force fully appreciates the importance of developing Nursing Manpower Indicators which can reflect the level of patient dependency. The HA Head Office will work closely with the staff groups and front-line nurses to complete the current phase of development.

8. Meanwhile, the interim assessment results will be considered carefully by HA in the context of resource allocation and priority setting in the 1997/98 annual planning process. Intensive efforts will continue to be made in parallel to recruit and retain nurses in HA.

Health and Welfare Branch
January 1997

Last Updated on 19 August 1998