Categorized | Birth, Pregnancy

Can I give birth in a public hospital in Hong Kong if I don’t have an HKID card?

Posted on 16 December 2016 by Kristrun

We are often asked if you can give birth in a public hospital without an Hong Kong ID card that comes with being a resident in Hong Kong. The answer is both yes and no. You cannot register with a public hospital without a HKID card, that is a NO. They will not accept you as a maternity patient and you will be sent home. So in short for anyone who is not a HKID card holder you will need to go to a private doctor and sign up with a private hospital to give birth there.

What happens in the case of complications?

For severe complications, a private doctor or hospital may refer your case to the public hospital – so you do need to prepare for this scenario also. Again, even with a referral letter you will not be accepted as a registered maternity patient. If you go into early labour you will need to go to a public hospital via the Accident & Emergency department (A&E) – and you will have to pay a full price.

How much will I need to pay?

According to hospital authorities you will be charged a minimum payment of 90,000 HKD for a non-invasive birth and then 4,650 HKD per day for the hospital stay (given there are no complications with the baby). For any additional interventions such as emergency C-section, or any emergency care for you or your baby, you will be charged further on top of this (based on a phone call to HA on 7th of December 2016). There is no ceiling on these charges so you may need to calculate the worse case scenario.

So, if you are planning to give birth in Hong Kong without an HKID card, you will need to find a private doctor and a private hospital who is willing to take care of your case. Find your obstetrician, sign up with him or her and then choose a hospital.

To keep in mind when going private.  

  • The private system works best if birth is quick, routine and scheduled which is usually in no way what birth is like, unless a scheduled C-section is chosen.

  • There is a financial gain for both the doctors and the hospitals to use epidurals, inductions, vacuum, forceps and C-sections.

  • The private doctors normally work alone.

  • Transparency is limited in terms of outcomes and statistics – not available from many doctors.

  • While private health insurance is usually the way people pay for their maternity cost, doctors may not be as conservative as they otherwise may be in using medical interventions (here is how the EHIC cover explained for European applicants).

  • Some private hospitals will not allow much movement during labour and even though in theory they support active participation of the mum, using different positions etc, in practice they may not allow it.

  • Epidural rates in some private hospitals are up to 90% for first time mothers. C-section rates of up to 90% for some private doctors. Make sure to create a birth plan and attend independent birth preparation classes!

  • C-section rates of some private hospitals are up to 80% (WHO guidelines suggest that they should be under 15%).

  • Midwives are obligated to work according to the doctor’s instructions, therefore are not always free to allow the women to be independent.

  • Breastfeeding is very hard in some private hospitals, unless you book a private room during your postnatal stay.

Conclusion?

When going private, birth planning and antenatal education is essential – make sure to book your classes in time.

It can be very expensive to give birth in Hong Kong without a HKID card and you would need to invest in the time to have someone reflect on your case before you make the final decision.

Are you still confused? Just let us know, we can arrange meetings here in our clinic, by Facetime, Skype or over the phone.

Keep the babies coming

Kristrun Xx

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