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Birth, death registrations go online

The Immigration Department will launch new electronic services tomorrow for eligible applicants to complete the entire process of birth or death registrations online, without having to visit a registry in person.   According to the Births & Deaths Registration (Amendment) Ordinance 2023, which will take effect tomorrow, the statutory time limit for the registration of deaths from natural causes is extended from 24 hours to 14 days.   It also removes the requirement for applicants who need to register births or deaths to attend the registries in person, so as to provide a legal basis for the introduction of electronic services for these kinds of registration.   Under the new electronic services, if either parent of a newborn baby is a Hong Kong permanent resident, the parents may submit an application for a birth registration online within 42 days after the birth of their legitimate child.   They may apply for a birth certificate at the same time and choose to receive it by

Surgical light safety review urged

Secretary for Health Prof Lo Chung-mau said he instructed the Hospital Authority (HA) to investigate an incident involving surgical lights with the vendor in a serious manner.   Prof Lo issued the statement today regarding the incident in which a surgical light in United Christian Hospital fell off and injured a staff on February 18.   In the statement, he said: “Safety of patients and staff is of our prime concern. This is an extremely serious incident involving high-standard medical equipment for use in operation rooms and it is absolutely unacceptable. I convened a meeting with the management of the HA this morning to discuss the incident.   “I have instructed the HA to investigate and look into this incident with the vendor in a serious manner by reviewing aspects such as the design, material and maintenance of the relevant equipment.   “They are also tasked to take prompt follow-up actions properly, including immediate inspection of all hoist installations in its facilities based on risk assessment to guard the safety of staff and patients.”   Prof Lo expressed his sympathy to the injured staff and appealed for the understanding of patients affected by the incident, adding that the HA will make every effort to minimise the impact on patients.   In the light of this incident, he said he also requested the HA to conduct a comprehensive review on its response mechanism adopted by the hospital management in handling similar incidents, covering also the workflow of overall crisis management and information dissemination, and submit a review report and recommendations for improvement to him as soon as possible.   The authority announced today that it has completed the inspection of a total of 50 surgical lights of various models manufactured by Getinge in public hospitals’ operation rooms.   It confirmed that 34 of them are safe and can continue to be used, while screws used in the remaining 16 surgical lights of various models may be at risk.   The authority has suspended the use of the surgical lights concerned and urged the vendor to replace the screws at risk as soon as possible to ensure the safety of patients and staff.   It added that after the incident, the vendor has been requested to increase the number of inspections to once every one to two weeks from now on.   In addition, to address the safety concern, the authority has arranged to have the surgical lights of other manufacturers inspected, which is expected to be completed in the next few days.   The surgical light that fell down at United Christian Hospital was manufactured and maintained by the manufacturer Getinge. It has been used since 2015 and last underwent maintenance in December 2022.

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