Following is a speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare,Dr E K Yeoh, at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Society for the Aged Tung Lin Kok Yuen Centre for the Young-at-Heart today (May 4):
Professor Edward Chen, Mr. Robert Ho and honourable guests :
It is my great pleasure to officiate at the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong Society for the Aged (SAGE) Tung Lin Kok Yuen Centre for the Young -at-Heart. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the inauguration of this new Home cum Day Care Centre.
The Centre provides 120 beds. I am most impressed with the innovativeness of the service design, as reflected in the choice of menu; medical consultation through telecommunications device; and provision of both Chinese and Western medical and nursing services. This 'market-oriented' and 'client-centred' approach is very much in line with the Government's policy to encourage provision of high quality residential care places to offer more choices to elders and their families.
The Government has placed a lot of importance on elderly services. The facts speak for themselves. We will spend $3.5 billion on services for elders in 2002-03. This more than doubles the amount we spent five years ago.
Having said that, we all know that resources are finite, even in the best of times. Under the present challenging economic climate and in anticipation of severe constraints on public spending, our priority is to ensure that resources earmarked for elderly services are utilized in the most cost-effective way to better meet the needs of and benefit more elders.
We have set a very clear direction towards developing and establishing an integrated, client-centred and sustainable long term care system, including the provision of quality and cost-effective residential care services. In the next few years, we will pursue the following key initiatives:
(a) With the use of the standardized care need assessment tool, we will seek to make more precise matching of services to care needs. We also aim to establish a single point of entry for all subsidized community and residential care services;
(b) We will put more emphasis on community care to enable older people to stay in their own homes, where they prefer to be. At the same time, we will provide appropriate support to the family carers;
(c) In respect of residential care for elders who can no longer be assisted to stay in their homes, we will move towards building only one type of residential care home in future, which will provide continuum of care services, to cater for elders of different care needs at different stages of their lives; and
(d) We are pursuing a number of initiatives to improve the supply of quality private residential care homes in the market. These include stepping up training of staff in care homes, selecting operators for all new care home premises supplied by the Government through open tendering, and commissioning a two-year pilot study on development and establishment of an accreditation system for care homes in Hong Kong.
In the context of developing a quality and sustainable long term care system, we are exploring options to target resources at elders with genuine need. One option being considered is the setting up of a new subsidy arrangement for the residential care programme, which allows elders more say in the choice of care homes, flexibility to contribute more to their own care costs, and a quick access to such services.
In parallel, we will continue to mobilize community resources, to provide better support to frail elders and their family carers. SAGE is one of Government's partners in development and provision of elderly services in Hong Kong, serving more than 4000 elders every day. The commencement of service of SAGE Tung Lin Kok Yuen Centre for the Young-at-Heart marks another big step forward. I also wish to express our appreciation to Tung Lin Kok Yuen for the generous donation of $20 million in sponsoring the setting up of this new Home.
Last but not least, my warmest regards to all of you, wishing you all the best and good health!
End/Saturday, May 4, 2002