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Opening remarks by SFH at press conference on private hospital development (with video)

     Following is the opening remarks by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, at the press conference announcing details of development of private hospitals this afternoon (December 14):

     As you know, I have briefed Legco members at the Legco Health Services Panel this morning about our plan to develop private hospitals on four sites.  Starting from today until March 31 next year, interested local and overseas parties in developing private hospitals at the four sites can submit to us their expressions of interest (EOI).  

     We will work out the appropriate land disposal arrangements for the sites, including the means and timing for land disposal, the detailed special requirements and the land premium after considering all response and feedback received in the EOI exercise.

     To ensure that the services provided by the new hospitals would be of good quality, cater for the needs of the community, help develop the medical industry and upgrade the standard of local medical services, we have proposed a set of special requirements for development of the four sites.

These requirements are:

(1) land use - primarily be used for hospital service and supporting facilities. Certain related uses for non-clinical activities could be allowed under certain restrictions;

(2) date of commencement of operation - commencement of operation within a specified number of years;

(3) bed capacity - provision of not less than a specified number of beds is required;

(4) service scope - provision of beds of a mix of specialities without slanting towards any particular types of service.  In particular, the obstetric service should be capped at not more than 20% of the total number of hospital beds;

(5) price transparency - comprehensive charging information for public reference and certain percentage of bed days (for example 30%) for services provided at packaged charge;

(6) service standard - undertaking of hospital accreditation on a continuous basis;

(7) remedy for non-compliance - the Government may take action in case of failure of the hospital to comply with special requirements and to rectify the non-compliance.

     We hope that through the promotion of private hospital development, we can increase the overall capacity of the health care system of Hong Kong, and address the imbalance between the public and private sectors in hospital services to cope with the increasing service demand.

     We also want to ensure that our health care system can provide the public, particularly the middle class, with more choices and affordable high quality private hospital services.

     The Government will also strengthen the training of health care professionals and create an environment to attract more overseas medical talents to Hong Kong so as to promote the development of private hospitals and medical industry and turn Hong Kong into a top medical hub.

     The promotion of private hospital development will not hamper the chances of the public to use public medical services.  The resources to be spent on improving public medical services and implementing service reform will not be cut.  The Government is committed to increasing healthcare spending to 17% of overall recurrent government expenditure by 2012.  We will also increase the recurrent funding for the Hospital Authority by about $870 million per year in the three-year period from 2009-10 till 2011-12 for strengthening and improving services to cope with medical needs of the public.

Ends/Monday, December 14, 2009
Issued at HKT 16:02


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