2009-10 Policy Address by Chief Executive (5)

Medical Services

Private Hospitals

31. To develop our medical services, we will, by the end of this year, invite expressions of interest from the market to develop private hospitals, which may provide traditional Chinese medicine services, on four sites at Wong Chuk Hang, Tseung Kwan O, Tai Po and Lantau. Based on the expressions of interest received, we will make appropriate land disposal arrangements which can encourage innovation, enhance the quality of services, increase the transparency of fees and charges, and ensure the provision of quality private medical services to the public.  Meanwhile, we will also consider making use of the vacant space in public hospitals for additional medical facilities.  We will facilitate the change of land use of private sites for medical use subject to planning permission.  We will closely monitor the demand of the market and medical sector for land, and ensure that suitable sites are available for the development of medical services.

Strengthening Training of Medical Personnel

32. On software, we will continue to step up the training of medical personnel, and encourage the development and pooling of talent. In the 2009-10 academic year, we have provided 70 additional places for medical degree programmes, as well as 40 and 50 additional places respectively for nursing programmes at degree and sub-degree levels. We will provide 60 additional senior year places for degree programmes on nursing in the 2010-11 academic year.  Furthermore, with a view to strengthening the supply and professional training of nurses, the Hospital Authority (HA) has re-opened some of its nursing schools and provided 200 and 350 additional training places for Registered Nurses and Enrolled Nurses respectively in 2009-10.  At present, the HA is providing training subsidies to more than 350 nurses each year to take conversion courses.

Development of Chinese Medicine

33. To facilitate the development of Chinese medicine, the Government will expedite the setting of standards for Chinese herbal medicines commonly used in Hong Kong. We aim to extend our coverage from the current 60 herbal medicines to about 200 by 2012.  To enhance our capability to test Chinese medicines, we will assist and promote the establishment of testing laboratories in the local market.  We will further consider allowing more renowned Chinese medicine practitioners from the Mainland to join clinical teaching and research programmes in Hong Kong so as to make Hong Kong a stage for promoting Chinese medicine to the world.

Testing and Certification Services

34. In September this year, the Government established the Hong Kong Council for Testing and Certification, which comprises members from the testing and certification industry, business sector, professional bodies and relevant public organisations. The first and foremost task of the Council is to draw up a three-year development plan for the industry.  One of the major objectives of the plan is to promote the development of Chinese medicine and help establish Hong Kong as a testing and certification centre in the region by introducing new certification services. In fact, our testing and certification industry is highly acclaimed by users for its professionalism, integrity and credibility of test results.

35. The Hong Kong Council for Testing and Certification held its first meeting in late September and has drawn up its work plan.  The Council will examine a number of important issues, including how to align the work of the Hong Kong Accreditation Service under the Innovation and Technology Commission with the development needs of the industry.  The Council will also consider measures to enhance professional standards, to increase training opportunities, and to promote our testing and certification services in Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas.  In drawing up the development plan for the industry, the Council will take into full account the views of the industry and relevant stakeholders. I look forward to receiving the Council's recommendations early next year.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Issued at HKT 11:36