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LCQ8: Residential care homes

    Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, to a question by the Hon Fernando Cheung on residential care homes in the Legislative Council today (June 11):


    It has been reported earlier that some residential care homes ("RCHs") for open bidding by non-governmental organisations have, between their obtaining occupation permits ("OPs") issued by the Buildings Department and their coming into formal operation, been left vacant for as long as several years, because the Social Welfare Department has still not put them out to tender although their construction had been completed for a few years (e.g. an RCH for the elderly at Hong Shue House of Lei Muk Shue Estate has been left vacant for three years and has still not been put out to tender).  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) apart from the above RCH for the elderly in Lei Muk Shue Estate, whether currently there are any other RCHs for the elderly and RCHs for people with disabilities ("PWDs") in various districts which have been issued with OPs but have not yet come into formal operation; if so, in respect of the two types of RCHs, of the respective locations, duration of vacant periods (calculated from the issue of OPs) and reasons for being left vacant;

(b) of the respective locations of RCHs for the elderly and RCHs for PWDs which came into operation in the past three years, and whether they had been left vacant before operation; if so, of the duration of vacant periods and reasons for their being left vacant; and

(c) whether there are any concrete measures to expedite the tender process of newly-built RCHs for the elderly to ensure that they will come into operation expeditiously?


Madam President,

(a) At present, apart from the residential care home for the elderly (RCHE) in Lei Muk Shue Estate, there is one completed property in Kwai Chung Estate which is under the Social Welfare Department (SWD). The concerned property is a purpose-built RCHE in the public housing estate of the Housing Department (HD).

    Generally speaking, after HD has obtained confirmation from concerned department(s) that the newly completed RCHE premises are suitable for occupation, HD and SWD will inspect the premises carefully to see whether they meet the requirements for operating RCHEs in full, and will require the concerned department(s) to carry out remedial or improvement works for areas failing to meet the requirements.  After completion of the works, SWD will formally take over the premises and proceed with the tender process in accordance with the established procedures. 

    As far as the above-mentioned RCHE property in Kwai Chung Estate is concerned, SWD formally took over the property in September 2007 and is now carrying out the open tender procedures to select an operator.  We expect the operator to be successfully selected before the end of 2008.

    As for rehabilitation services, there is no concerned welfare project in Kwai Chung Estate under SWD.  SWD has earmarked a property for RCH for PWDs in Lei Yue Mun Estate in Kwun Tong.  At present, HD is conducting improvement works to the property, while SWD is in parallel selecting an operator for the RCH.  We expect the operator to be successfully selected in the middle of this year.

(b) In respect of RCHEs, there are five new purpose-built RCHEs that commenced operation from June 2005 up till now.  The concerned RCHEs are located in Hong Kong East, Tin Shui Wai, Kwun Tong, Wong Tai Sin and Tsuen Wan/Kwai Tsing.

    After the formal take-over of the concerned premises by SWD, the Department had already drawn up the layout plans of residential care places based on the actual environment of individual RCHEs, worked out the number of residential care places that could be provided in each RCHE based on the statutory requirements, set out the operational requirements and contract sum, and successfully selected operators through open tender.  The whole process took about a year and a half on average.  After the award of contracts by SWD, the concerned operators had immediately started the fitting-out works, purchase of furniture and equipment, recruitment of staff, provision of pre-employment training to staff members and application for licence(s) required. During this preparatory period, the operators had also discussed the admission arrangements with prospective elderly residents and their family members, and completed relevant procedures, so that elders could be admitted immediately after the RCHEs were ready in every aspect.

    As far as rehabilitation services are concerned, SWD has awarded service contracts of three RCHs for PWDs in Tin Shui Wai, Shatin and Tseung Kwan O in the past three years. The concerned RCHs have all commenced operation.  The operators of the concerned RCHs were selected through invitation of proposals.  In general, it takes an average of one and a half years to complete the process, i.e. from take-over of the premises and invitation of service proposals from organisations by SWD to completion of fitting-out works and commencement of operation by the selected operator. 

(c) To expedite the commencement of service in newly completed premises for contract RCHEs, SWD is reviewing the relevant workflow and arrangements.  SWD is discussing with concerned departments to explore room to further speed up the open tender process with prudence, including commencing the preparatory work before the formal take-over of the RCHE premises.

Ends/Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Issued at HKT 12:30


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