Fact Checked

Public Hospitals in Hong Kong: How Much Does It Cost?

How much you will pay in HK public hospitals and clinics: complete guide.
Last Update:
8th April 2022
Fact Checked
piggy bank and medical equipment to illustrate public hospital costs
piggy bank and medical equipment to illustrate public hospital costs
How much you will pay in HK public hospitals and clinics: complete guide.
Last Update: 8th April 2022

To go private or public in Hong Kong is a personal decision and each has its advantages and inconveniences. The main advantage of going public in Hong Kong is its affordability. Public sector fees are extremely low compared to Hong Kong private sector fees which are considered the second most expensive in the world after the USA.

To better understand your options and public health hospital/clinic costs in Hong Kong, Alea brings you a comprehensive guide to Hospital Authority fees and charges.

How are the prices at Hong Kong's public hospitals decided?

The Hospital Authority (HA) is managing all public sector clinics and hospital fees and charges in Hong Kong. 6% of Hong Kong's GDP is dedicated to health expenditure, which is much lower than any other jurisdictions but this is likely to go up due to the aging population.

In 2017 the fees and charges were increased in order to:

  • Discourage less urgent patients to go to public Accident & Emergency departments;
  • Promote appropriate use of service;
  • Lift the financial burden of the public sector.

There are 3 sets of charges and fees in the public sector:

  1. Charges for eligible persons;
  2. Charges for non-eligible persons;
  3. Private charges (for eligible and non-eligible persons).

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What are the criteria of eligibility?

Patients at Hospital Authority are divided into 2 categories:

1. Public charges – Eligible persons (holders of HKID)

This refers to:

  • Holders of a Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID) issued under the Registration of Persons Ordinance (Chapter 177),
  • Hong Kong permanent residents,
  • Children who are Hong Kong residents and under 11 years old,
  • Other persons approved by the Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority.

2. Public charges – Non-eligible persons (non-holders of an HKID)

Non-eligible persons refer to non-permanent residents. This refers to:

  • Persons not holding a Hong Kong Identity Card,
  • Chinese mainland residents,
  • Tourists traveling in Hong Kong.

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How much does it cost?

1. Hong Kong's public charges for eligible persons

For persons eligible for public charges, it is likely that for most cases insurance will not be necessary, as the prices charged are relatively low. The issue with the public system is that it runs on a first-come, first-served basis, and due to the lack of medical staff, regardless of what service you are in need of, there will likely be a long waiting time. Depending on the demand some common surgical procedures can take from 8 up to 30 months to operate.

In consideration of the pricing alone, with the prices being so low, if you only or primarily use the public sector, there would be no need for health insurance.

ServiceFee /HK Dollar
Accident & Emergency$180 per attendance
Inpatient (acute general beds)$75 admission fee, $120 per day
Inpatient (convalescent / rehabilitation, infirmary & psychiatric beds)$100 per day
Specialist outpatient (including allied health clinic)$135 for the 1st attendance, $80 per subsequent attendance, $15 per drug item
General outpatient$50 per attendance
Dressing or injection$19 per attendance
Psychiatric day hospital$60 per attendance
Geriatric day hospital$60 per attendance
Rehabilitation day hospital$55 per attendance
Day procedure and treatment at Clinical Oncology Clinic or Renal Clinic$96 per attendance
Day procedure and treatment in ambulatory facility$195 per attendance
Community nursing service (general)$80 per visit
Community nursing service (psychiatric)Free
Community allied health service$80 per visit

For details click here.

2. Hong Kong's public charges for non-eligible persons

For non-eligible persons, the prices in the public sector are very similar to the private sector. If you are in this category, purchasing health insurance is recommended.

ServiceFee / HK Dollar
Accident & Emergency$1,230 per attendance
Inpatient (general hospitals)$5,100 per day
Inpatient (psychiatric hospitals)$2,340 per day
Intensive care ward/unit$24,400 per day
High dependency ward/unit$13,650 per day
Nursery$1,340 per day
Obstetrics package charge
For booked cases, includes
• one antenatal checkup;
• delivery / delivery care service; and
• three days (two nights) hospitalization in a public general ward related to the delivery / delivery care service
Obstetrics package charge
For non-booked cases or patients who have not undergone any antenatal checkup provided by HA during the pregnancy concerned, includes
• delivery / delivery care service; and
• three days (two nights) of hospitalization in a public general ward related to the delivery / delivery care service
Specialist outpatient (including allied health clinic)$1,190 per attendance
General outpatient$445 per attendance
Dressing or injection$100 per attendance
Day procedure and treatment for Haemodialysis at a Renal Clinic/Centre or other ambulatory facility$3,000 per attendance (Chronic), $6,000 per attendance (Acute)
Day procedure and treatment at Clinical Oncology Clinic$895 per attendance
Day procedure and treatment at Ophthalmic Clinic$725 per attendance
Day procedure and treatment in ambulatory facility$5,100 per attendance
Psychiatric day hospital$1,260 per attendance
Geriatric day hospital$1,960 per attendance
Rehabilitation day hospital$1,320 per attendance
Community nursing service (general)$535 per visit
Community nursing service (psychiatric)$1,550 per visit
Community allied health service$1,730 per visit

For details, click here.

3. Hong Kong's private charges (for both eligible and non-eligible persons)

This is less known but a private route exists within the public sector. This may include charges for domestic services, catering and general nursing, core pathology investigations, catering. For newborns, private charges cover basic examination by obstetricians, basic immunization and injections.

Patients with a referral letter from private medical practitioners or discharged from private wards and attending designated private specialist outpatient sessions will be charged private outpatient consultation fees as follows:

  • For initial consultation HK$790 – HK$2,210
  • For each subsequent follow-up consultation HK$640 – HK$1,990

The private services provided by the Hospital Authority include:

  1. Diagnostic/therapeutic procedures
  2. Operations
  3. Pathology Services
  4. Radiology Services
  5. Rehabilitation and Outreach Services

For further information on each service, click here.

ServiceFee / HK Dollar
Inpatient (acute hospitals)$6,650 per day (1st class), $4,430 per day (2nd class)
Inpatient (other hospitals)$6,120 per day (1st class), $4,080 per day (2nd class)
Intensive care ward/unit$15,350 per day
High dependency ward/unit$9,500 per day
Nursery$1,190 per day
Inpatient medical attendance / consultation (per specialty)$680 - $2,780 per visit
Outpatient consultation$790 - $2,210 per attendance (initial consultation), $640 - $1,990 per attendance (subsequent follow up consultation)
Minor nursing procedures (such as dressing or injection)$360 per attendance

Patients suffering from or suspected to be suffering from the diseases specified under the prevailing International Health Regulations (IHR), and admitted to a public hospital will not be charged for medical treatment or maintenance. Find the specified list of diseases under IHR of the World Health Organization here.

4. Other fees in Hong Kong's public hospitals and clinics

For persons accompanying a patient and occupying a bed, the following daily maintenance fee will apply:

  • Eligible persons:
    • (i) Acute general beds: $120
    • (ii) Convalescent/Rehabilitation, Infirmary and Psychiatric beds: $100
  • Non-eligible persons: $810

Dental treatments are only provided in private offices. The public sector only takes care of patients in need of emergency dental treatments or dental treatments as an essential part of their medical treatment. In addition to maintenance and/or attendance fees, patients will have to pay for prosthetic appliances at a charge to be determined by the dental officers of the hospital/clinic.

Have difficulties making up your mind? Please take a look at our article about whether you need health insurance in Hong Kong.


How much does it cost to see a doctor in a public hospital in Hong Kong?

For an eligible person (holder of a valid HKID), it costs HK$180 per consultation at the A&E, $50 per consultation with a GP, and $135 for the first consultation with a specialist ($80 per follow-up session and $15 for each medication).

For a non-eligible person, however, it costs HK$1,230 per consultation at the A&E, $445 per GP consultation, and $1,190 per specialist consultation.

How many public hospitals are there in Hong Kong?

Currently, there are a total of 43 public hospitals and institutions under the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong. Together with 49 specialist outpatient clinics and 73 general outpatient clinics, the public healthcare sector serves the general public at a low charge.

What are the differences between public and private hospitals in Hong Kong?

The major difference between the public and private healthcare providers in Hong Kong is the pricing and waiting time — while medical costs are much lower at the public sector, the demand for public services is particularly high (partly due to the aging population). Such a heavy burden on the public healthcare system are reflected in its alarmingly long waiting time.

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This article was independently written by Alea and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.