The Monitoring Committee on Implementation of the SARS Expert Committee Report's Recommendations (Monitoring Committee) was pleased to see the recommendation to create a Centre for Health Protection was accepted, co-chairpersons, Professor Sian Griffiths and Sir Cyril Chantler, said after visiting the Princess Margaret Hospital today (January 20).
The Monitoring Committee was on its second day of programme to check the progress of implementation of the 46 recommendations made by the SARS Expert Committee.
In looking at the planning, Prof Griffiths said there was more work to do, particularly in relation to links across the hospitals and hospital staff.
"We think the Centre for Health Protection requires a rethink of relationships at the top of the office, that is, the bureau level about how medical advice is provided.
"We did make this recommendation in our report and we just want to draw attention yet again the need to look at the nature of the organisation of the bureau."
Commenting on the progress of implementation, the experts were immensely impressed with the progress that Hong Kong had made in gearing itself up to a possible return of SARS. However, they also highlighted some areas that they wished to see more to be done, which they would include in their assessment to be submitted to the Chief Executive Mr Tung Chee Hwa.
On training, Prof Griffiths pointed out Hong Kong would need more infectious disease doctors and better public health training. The Monitoring Committee had asked for a comprehensive work plan on training to be reported at the next meeting, she added.
Sir Cyril was happy to learn that intelligence transferring across the border was much better since the last outbreak, adding that there was still a lot more that needed to be done in that direction.
The co-chairpersons also underlined the need to improve occupational health in the health care system in Hong Kong.
On cooperation across agencies, the experts noted that relationship between the Hospital Authority and the Department of Health and the private sector had since then made much improvement.
Sir Cyril said he would also emphasise the importance of cooperation between universities and the health authorities when he met the universities tomorrow to exchange views on research and training issues.
Joining today's visit was Professor Lee Shiu-hung, a member of the Monitoring Committee. Other members of the Monitoring Committee are Professor Rosie Young and Legislator Councillor, Dr Lo Wing-lok.
The Monitoring Committee was appointed by the Chief Executive last October to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the SARS Expert Committee Report. It would submit periodic reports to the Chief Executive on the progress of implementation.
Yesterday, the Monitoring Committee discussed the progress reports by the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau task force responsible for co-ordinating the implementation of the recommendations. They had also visited the Department of Health's Public Health Laboratory Centre to understand the centre's role in supporting SARS laboratory tests.
The Monitoring Committee will conclude its three-day programme tomorrow after meeting with the academics. It will meet again in October.
Ends/Tuesday, January 20, 2004