Special Report – 2020, an abnormal year

Not counting consultations and emergency attendances, the occupancy rate of inpatient beds fell by 12 per cent, and the number of surgical operations performed decreased by almost 7 per cent. In return, cases of salmonella infection leapt almost 300 per cent.

MB July 2021 Special Report | A patient hospital

Last year’s health statistics show widespread declines compared to 2019, according to official data recently released by the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC, the acronym in Portuguese).

The rare exceptions include two which may or may not be related to Covid-19, a possible factor not mentioned by the DSEC: in 2020 Macau’s four hospitals (after Taivexmalo Day Hospital suspended operations in 2019) provided a total of 1,715 inpatient beds, an increase of 87 year-on-year; and the number of inpatient beds per 1,000 population in 2000 was 2.5, a rise of 0.1 over 2019.

The trend is downward: the number of inpatients declined 13.0 per cent year-on-year to 54,337 in 2020, with those aged under 15 (8,852), 15–64 (29,664) and 65 and above (15,821) falling by 37.8 per cent, 3.5 per cent and 9.7 per cent, respectively.

Broken down by medical department, those in General Surgery (10,200), Gynecology & Obstetrics (9,797) and Paediatrics & Neonatology (7,514) were the largest sections of the inpatient population, at 18.8 per cent, 18.0 per cent and 13.8 per cent, respectively.

An inpatient’s average hospital stay rose from 7.4 to 7.6 days, year-on-year.

With an increase in the number of inpatient beds available and a decrease in total inpatient hospital stays, the occupancy rate of inpatient beds fell by 12.1 percentage points year-on-year to 66.2 per cent.

Emergency attendances totalled 342,363, a decline of 30.0 per cent year-on-year; visits by those aged under 15 decreased by 48.7 per cent to 69,342.

The most common reason for emergency attendances was sickness (326,624), accounting for 95.4 per cent of the total, followed by attendances due to pregnancy (8,655) and traffic accidents (2,103).

Emergency attendances in the Macau Peninsula (278,152) and Taipa (64,211) fell by 27.3 per cent and 39.8 per cent, respectively, year-on-year.

The number of surgical beds in hospitals was 35, a decline of 2 from 2019.

In 2020, the number of surgical operations decreased by 6.8 per cent year-on-year to 18,214 cases, the majority (74.4 per cent) of which were scheduled (13,556 cases).

By department, there were 5,248 cases requiring surgical operations in General Surgery, 4,415 in Gynecology & Obstetrics and 2,788 in Ophthalmology, the latter figure representing a year-on-year decline of 30.2 per cent.

A total of 8,756,486 cases of auxiliary diagnostic and therapeutic services (for example Laboratory Tests and Radiography) were performed in hospitals, up by 2.5 per cent year-on-year. Among them, Laboratory Tests grew by 3.4 per cent to 7,355,108 cases and Dialysis treatments rose by 3.1 per cent to 120,066 cases, “marking the 11th successive year of growth”. Meanwhile, 85,863 doses of vaccines were administered in hospitals, down 18.8 per cent year-on-year.

In 2020, there were 702 primary health care establishments (including public health centres and private clinics), down by 14 year-on-year. The number of government health establishments was 13, while private clinics totalled 689, among which the number of establishments for health care services (known as polyclinics) increased by 19 year-on-year to 383, up by 3.8 percentage points and accounting for 55.6 per cent of the private clinic total.

The distribution among the 383 polyclinics by type of service was 239 for Western Medicine Services (62.4 per cent of the total), 155 for Chinese Medicine Services (40.5 per cent) and 79 for Dental Services (20.6 per cent). Polyclinics providing a mix of services (Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine or Dental) totalled 94 (24.5 per cent).

A total of 3,249,007 consultations were provided in primary health care establishments, a decrease of 21.0 per cent year-on-year. Consultations in government health establishments (819,133) and private clinics (2,429,874) were down 12.8 per cent and 23.4 per cent, respectively, year-on-year; consultations in polyclinics (1,712,387) accounted for 70.5 per cent of the private clinic total.

Analysed by type of service, consultations in Chinese Medicine (1,043,359) made up 32.1 per cent of the total, followed by those in General Practice (752,983) and Stomatology & Odontology (Dentistry) (284,262) at 23.2 per cent and 8.7 per cent, respectively.

Last year, the number of establishments providing Chinese Medicine Services decreased by 7 year-on-year to 326, among them 162 Chinese medicine clinics and 155 polyclinics.

Consultations in Chinese Medicine in all types of medical establishments totalled 1,304,212 – down 8.1 per cent year-on-year. Consultations in Chinese medicine clinics (428,303) dropped by 13.7 per cent, while those in polyclinics (615,056), hospitals (190,524) and public health centres (70,329) fell by 4.9 per cent, 5.2 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively.

The Health Bureau received 5,736 reported cases of communicable diseases, a decrease of 74.4 per cent year-on-year. Most of these were influenza cases (3,417), down 76.8 per cent year-on-year, while salmonella infection cases (751) leapt by 289.1 per cent.

[All the information reported on these pages was taken from the document “Health Statistics 2020”, released by the DSEC at the end of May]

Fewer doctors

According to the administrative data provided by the Health Bureau, the number of doctors in Macau dropped by 1.1 per cent year-on-year to 1,789 in 2020, while that of nurses increased by 3.1 per cent to 2,568. There were 2.6 doctors and 3.8 nurses per 1,000 population.

At the end of 2020, a total of 872 doctors were engaged in hospitals, down by 2.4 per cent year-on-year; the number of nurses went up by 3.2 per cent to 1,786. Analysed by gender, male doctors accounted for 60.3 per cent of the total, and female nurses made up 86.9 per cent of the total.

Moreover, 24.4 per cent of doctors were under the age of 35.

Medical specialists decreased by 2.0 per cent year-on-year to 528, with 64.8 per cent of them males; medical specialists in Internal Medicine and General Surgery totalled 104 and 78, respectively.

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