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Baby vaccinations and check-ups at the MCHCs

  1. #1
    RileyC is offline Registered User
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    Question Baby vaccinations and check-ups at the MCHCs

    I recall there being a thread somewhere on this forum where some mothers (even those who delivered their babies at private hospitals) advocated going public over private for baby vaccinations and developmental check-ups. Apart from the obvious advantage of such services being free in the public MCHCs , are there any other benefits to going public? Does the MCHC provide you with a vaccination record card so you can keep track of what jabs your baby has received? I'm also having some difficulty finding out information on how to register my baby at the MCHC, so any pointers on that would be helpful.

    A recent SCMP article seems to indicate that waiting times are long and appointments are hard to schedule, especially with the increase in mainland mothers coming down to HK. Has this been your experience? I live on HK island (near Central), so would that make a difference in the waiting times at my MCHC catchment area?

  2. #2
    Anne1212 is offline Registered User
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    My son's now 21 months and we took him to the sai ying pun MCHC for his vaccinations and check ups since birth. I'm not sure but I guess Central babies will go there too. Could call and check: 2859 8281 with booking time mon to fri 11am-12:30pm and 3:30-5pm (be patient and just keep calling as it takes a bit of effort to dial though).
    First time registration takes half day I'd think so be prepared. Subsequent checks ad jabs take about 1-1.5-2hrs depending on whether doctor's consultation is required for that visit. I normally book the first slot in the morning (9am) and be the first one to get there! Then the waiting time is not too bad. There's a breastfeeding room and can change baby in the weighing room.
    We got given an immunization record and health record which get updated every time. Must bring. Get a number after arrival. Wait to be called for your baby to be weighed and measured. Further wait to be called for nurse consultation. Nurse will check baby's progress and mark down on the health record and will give u an explanation sheet highlighting the vaccination(s) for the day and reminders of side effects. Then u'll wait further to be called into the vaccination room. U'll get asked what the vaccination is for today before they give your baby the jap just to make sure u know. After that wait for making next appointment booking at the counter. Then go to pharmacy (more waiting) to collect a bottle of panadol just in case your baby gets a fever after the vaccinations.
    As u can tell, lots of in and out of rooms and waiting time. I'm used to it now so always bring stuff to keep my very active son entertained. Lots of people but I never have problem finding seats.
    My son had jaundice earlier on and in the 1st and 2nd visit SYP MCHC referred us back to Queen Mary so my son would go into the box. I felt we were always treated by very experienced staff (though overloaded with too much work). No shaky needles~ Considering the cost I've never complained about the waiting. I don't work at the moment so can afford the waiting time...
    We also haven't given any extra vaccinations as we thought we already have the bare minimum ones as recommended.

  3. #3
    Anne1212 is offline Registered User
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    Btw avoid going there on Mondays and the day after public holidays-more newborns registration.

  4. #4
    mariaindb is offline Registered User
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    I've also taken my son there since birth (now 2.5 yrs) and am also taking my daughter there (now 10 months). We go to the one in Tung Chung but the procedure is exactly as Anne1212 explains. I get given an appointment time - not sure if you can actually choose. However, I don't work either, so any day/time is fine with me. The longest an appointment has ever taken is 2 hours - but that was only once. Usually it's about 1.5 hours. And the best time ever was 40min!
    I think the public system is very good! They are very thorough and we needed to go back twice when my son hadn't reached certain milestones in time. All for no extra cost of course! They also give you heaps of reading material on child development etc, which I've never seen at any of my friends houses who go privately.
    There are a couple of vaccinations that the public system doesn't offer which you can obviously get privately if you wish.

  5. #5
    lisa88 is offline Registered User
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    here's the previous link: doctor for baby

    Advantages - agree with Anne1212 that the medical staff there are pretty experienced. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the nurses I saw had enlightened attitudes towards breastfeeding v formula. They were very supportive of my exclusively breastfeeding. When my baby was 18 months, the nurse said to drop formula and switch to fresh cow's milk. We did not discuss the reasons but I was really happy to stop giving my baby formula. If you have a perfectly healthy baby and just need quick developmental checks (as was my case) then MCHC is fine.

  6. #6
    JayJay is offline Registered User
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    I might be the only one who thinks the MCHC is a waste of time. After 3 visits to an MCHC, my wife and I vowed never going back there again. Here's how I see it.

    Pros
    Free
    Nurses are friendly and knowledgeable. They teach you all sorts of techniques for feeding, burping, etc.

    Cons
    The vaccinations that you get from private clinics are better than the ones from MCHC. They cover more diseases.

    Ridiculous waiting times. Weighing your child takes 15 secs, measuring your child's length and head circumferance takes 2 minutes, a vaccination shot takes 1 minute, and if you get to speak with a doctor, the consultation might last for 10 minutes. Yet, the whole process took 3 hours.

    Crowded. The article in SCMP is very true. Lots of mainlanders with luggage and their "agents". You'll be lucky to find a seat.

    We've had a terrible experience with the doctor there. I'm not going to bore you with details of my son's condition but in short, the doctor we saw just didn't care. We expressed several areas of concerns to the doctor and she just dismissed us by saying things like "it's normal and he'll grow out of it".

    Sure, not everyone can afford to go to private clinics for vaccinations. But if you can afford it or have insurance to cover it, I see no reason to use the services at MCHC.

    By the way, I'm the one who responded to that SCMP article in the editorial section. Here's what I wrote...


    Act to curb abuse by mainlanders

    The report ("Child health centres are overstretched", July 4) highlights how the resources of maternal and child health centres throughout the SAR are strained by the increasing number of Hong Kong-born children of mainlanders.

    To make matters worse, most mainlanders ignore the stipulation that appointments must be made before showing up.

    A doctor who works at a centre said mainlanders who came with same-day return tickets and luggage had to be vaccinated first for "humanitarian reasons".

    I fail to see how having luggage and travel tickets means they get priority ahead of everybody else who followed the rules and made an appointment.

    Citing humanitarian reasons is not valid.

    It would only be inhumane if the child health centre refused to vaccinate their child.

    There are two obvious solutions that I see for parents who just walk in without an appointment:

    Have them wait until everyone who made an appointment is treated; and
    Have the parents make an appointment and come back accordingly.
    If they refuse to wait or make an appointment, then it is the parents who are displaying inhumane behaviour for refusing to vaccinate their child. The current arrangement just doesn't make sense and is extremely unfair.

    Perhaps local tax-paying parents can take advantage of this loophole. For their next visit to the child health centre, just show the receptionist their bag and Octopus card.

    Tell them you have luggage and travel tickets and that you expect to be moved to the front of the queue for humanitarian reasons.

  7. #7
    charade is offline Registered User
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    JayJay, I think you need to mention which MCH as that could make a difference in terms of crowd. The MCH I went to never had a crowd of people with luggage, nor did I notice people without an appointment, nor was there ever a day when we couldn't find a seat.

    The wait is long (can't remember how long), especially if you need to see a doctor. I loved the pediatrician at my MCH, so much so that I tried to get an appointment to see her when my son was generally ill but I was told MCH is only for scheduled developmental checks, vaccination and breastfeeding support.

    My private pediatrician, on the other hand, doesn't do the detailed developmental checks that they do at MCH.

    The number of diseases covered - I guess that depends on your approach to vaccination. I am fine with the minimum being covered.

    That said, I ended up going private because:
    1. Vaccinations are entirely covered by my husband's insurance plan
    2. Both my husband and I work and going to MCH would require taking time off work. Our private ped is open up to 9 pm and on weekends so we can go conveniently then.

  8. #8
    charade is offline Registered User
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    My MCH was the Tseung Kwan O MCH in Hang Hau.

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