The government on Friday announced a series of measures and plans to strengthen its mental health services, after a man with psychiatric issues was charged with murdering two women in a stabbing attack at a Diamond Hill mall last week.
Speaking to reporters after attending an emergency meeting with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health, acting health minister Libby Lee said authorities will try and make sure that people needing urgent psychiatric treatment at specialist Hospital Authority (HA) clinics do not have to wait for more than a week.
Semi-urgent appointments, meanwhile, should be dealt with within four weeks.
"There is never an ideal number for the specialist out-patient clinic waiting time. The ideal is actually when you book it and we can immediately see the patients," she said.
"Setting a target that we have to achieve is actually important… it is a commitment."
Lee added that the Hospital Authority will boost manpower to improve follow-up services, and look into giving patients newer drugs that have fewer side effects.
The chairman of the advisory committee, Wong Yan-lung, said the group will meet again next month to discuss the possibility of introducing compulsory treatment for mental patients in the community.
He stressed the issue is complex as authorities need to strike a delicate balance between maintaining law and order, and protecting human rights.