LegCo Panel on Health Services Nursing Manpower Requirements at Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre


To seek Members’ agreement on the methodology proposed to be adopted by the Administration in assessing the nursing manpower requirements at Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre (SLPC) from a medical perspective based on its physical configuration and patient profile.


2.Following a review conducted by an internal working group in 1994, the Correctional Services Department (CSD) proposed a number of measures to improve the level of nursing manpower provision at SLPC. Progressive steps have since been made to implement these measures by the creation of four new Officer posts to be filled by staff with Registered Nurse (RN) qualification, one new Occupational Therapist I post and one new Dispenser post. Furthermore, a total of 35 officers have been sent to the Hospital Authority (HA) for psychiatric nurse training with a view to filling 63 of the Assistant Officer posts by staff with Enrolled Nurse (EN) qualification in 1999.

3.As requested by Members, a task force was also formed by HA in 1995 to determine an appropriate staff mix between RNs and ENs based on the improved manpower provision proposed by CSD. A report was published subsequently in November 1995 indicating that about 14.5% of the nursing activities at SLPC could be performed by support workers. Based on a work distribution of 36% by RNs, 46% by ENs and 18% by RN or EN, a spilt of 44:56 between RNs and ENs was recommended. However, it was clearly stated in the report that most of the inmates at SLPC were physically dependent and that there were limitations for any further attempt to separate the nursing and custodial duties.

4.At the Panel meeting held on 9 December 1996, Members agreed that the measures taken by CSD would improve the nursing manpower situation but expressed concern on the lack of an objective benchmark to assess the level of professional nursing care provided to the inmates at SLPC. The Administration was thus asked to carry out a separate assessment on the nursing manpower requirements from a medical perspective.


5.Although the study performed by HA was confined to the staff mix between ENs and RNs, useful information has been obtained through site visits and diary exercises on the patient profile, major nursing activities, type and level of psychiatric care required, occupancy ratio and physical configuration of SLPC.

6.Based on the information gathered so far and in view of Members’ concern, the Administration intends to ask HA to carry out first a paper exercise with reference to the existing nursing manpower provision in psychiatric hospitals and to make adjustments based on the existing physical configuration and patient profile of SLPC. The sample at Annex illustrates the information that this exercise aims to collate.

7.It must be pointed out that this is a paper exercise requested by Members, and that the outcome so derived cannot be interpreted in isolation from other relevant factors such as the staffing structure in CSD and operational requirements arising from custodial duties. How this exercise should be taken forward will need to be further considered.

Health and Welfare Branch
January 1997

Last Updated on 19 August 1998