The Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, announced today (July 17) that the two group chairpersons of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Expert Committee would submit the report of the Committee to him direct in September.
To enable the committee to conduct an objective and expert review, members of the committee were formed right from the beginning into the Hospital Management and Administration Group and the Public Health Group, chaired respectively by two distinguished and independent experts, Sir Cyril Chantler and Professor Sian Griffiths, Mr Tung said.
The role of the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr Yeoh Eng-kiong, was to provide co-ordination and support to facilitate the work of the committee.
"However, in order to further dispel public misunderstanding, Dr Yeoh and I agreed that he would not be the chairman of the committee," Mr Tung said.
"The two groups will be directly accountable to me for their work.
"The two chairpersons will prepare and submit the Report of the Expert Committee directly to me in September. The findings and recommendations of the Committee will be made public," Mr Tung said.
Appointed by the Chief Executive, the SARS Expert Committee was to carry out a detailed and expert study into the outbreak, to review the way of managing and controlling the epidemic, to identify the lessons to be learnt and to make recommendations on areas of improvement so that we could better prepare our system for another possible outbreak.
Following the setting up of SARS Expert Committee on May 28 this year, the Hospital Management and Administration Group held meetings between June 26 and 28 to review the work of public hospitals in the management and infection control of the disease while the Public Health Group embarked on a comprehensive review of the SARS outbreaks from the public health perspective in the meetings between July 7 and 11.
During the eight-day intensive meetings in Hong Kong, members of the SARS Expert Committee examined the management of the SARS epidemic to establish the relevant facts. This was done through site visits and meetings with a wide range of stakeholders including board chairman and members and senior executives of the Hospital Authority, health officials, legislators, frontline health workers, Amoy Gardens residents' representatives, operators of elderly homes and local medical and public health experts.
Members will come to Hong Kong next month to further their study and review on the SARS outbreak in the plenary session of the SARS Expert Committee to be held in August.
End/Thursday, July 17, 2003