Hong Kong may bar mainland mothers from giving birth in public hospitals next year to battle the over-crowding in local maternity wards, the city's health chief said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Health Chief York Chow said that all public hospital obstetric services are expected to be reserved for local pregnant mothers in 2013.
The comments came after the leader-elect, Leung Chun-ying, said that private hospitals should bar mainland mothers and that their newborns will no longer be able to claim permanent residence in the city.
"If they apply now and prepare to come to Hong Kong next year to deliver their babies, in all likelihood, their babies will not have permanent residency status in Hong Kong because once I assume office, I will surely take action on this," Leung said on Tuesday.
Leung did not say if the city would pass laws or use other methods to stop the children of mainland parents from gaining permanent residency in Hong Kong.
Chow said that he was in touch with Leung and respected his view of suspending the quota system, but a final decision had yet to be made.
Private hospitals that increasingly rely on maternity services said a sudden policy change would have a major impact.
(China.org.cn April 19, 2012)