LCQ19: Patients of stoma receiving disability allowance

     Following is a question by the Hon Leung Kwok-hung and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung, in the Legislative Council today (October 28):


     Recently, I have received complaints from chronic disease patients one after another that the Government's support for patients with "visceral diseases" is grossly inadequate.  Regarding the support for patients with stoma, intestinal cancer and bladder cancer, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the respective numbers of the above three types of patients in each year from 2004 till now (list out using the table below);

                       Number of       Number of
         Number of     patients with   patients with
         patients      intestinal      bladder
Year     with stoma    cancer          cancer


(b) whether the Government had, in the past five years, provided financial assistance to patient concern groups or patient groups for those three types of patients; if so, of the amounts of financial assistance broken down by recipient group; if not, the reasons for that, and whether the Government had disregarded the needs of such organisations;

(c) whether it has assessed if persons with permanent stoma are eligible for Disability Allowance ("DA") and a permanent Registration Card for People with Disabilities ("Registration Card"); if the assessment result is in the affirmative, why the applications for "DA" and the "Registration Card" from some of these persons were rejected; if the assessment result is in the negative, why some of these persons have been certified by doctors in public hospitals to fall within the definition of "severely disabled" under the "DA" Scheme and eligible for the "Registration Card"; whether it has assessed if there are inconsistencies in the vetting and approving process; and

(d) of the respective numbers of persons with stoma who were granted "DA" and the "Registration Card" in the past five years?



(a) The number of patients in the three categories in question, ie those who had undergone stoma operation in the Hospital Authority (HA), those  with newly diagnosed colorectal and those with urinary bladder cancers, since 2004 are as follows -

         The number of
         patients                        Patients
         undergone          Patients     with newly
         stoma              with newly   diagnosed
         operations in      diagnosed    urinary
         HA (including      colorectal   bladders
Year     temporary stoma)   cancers*     cancers*
----     ----------------   ----------   ----------

2004          2,417           3,582        584
2005          2,412           3,706        529
2006          2,551           3,918        451
2007          2,486           Not yet available#
2008          2,562           Not yet available#
2009          2,157           Not yet available#
        (as at September)

* According to the latest statistics from the Hong Kong Cancer Registry.

# According to HA, given the huge volume of clinical and pathological data of cancer patients involved and the lead time for consolidation and verification of the data, figures for 2007 to 2009 are not yet available.

(b) Since 2001, Social Welfare Department has been providing funding support to self-help organisations of persons with disabilities (PWDs) (including self-help organisations of patients with cancers/stoma) through the "Financial Support Scheme for Self-help Organisations of People with Disabilities" (the Scheme).  The Scheme aims at supporting the operation and development of self-help organisations, and promoting the spirit of self-help and mutual support among PWDs and their families.  The current round of the Scheme covers a period of two years from April 2008 to March 2010 and a total allocation of over $16 million has been granted to 57 self-help organisations (including six self-help organisations of patients with cancers/stoma).

(c) Under the existing "DA" scheme, subject to meeting the residence requirements, an applicant will be eligible for "DA" if his/her medical condition is certified by the Director of Health or the Chief Executive, HA (or, under very exceptional circumstances, by a registered medical practitioner of a private hospital) to be severely disabled (i.e. in a condition broadly equivalent to 100% loss of earning capacity according to the criteria in Schedule 1 of the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 282)) and that his/her disabling condition will persist for at least six months.

     To ensure consistency and objectivity in medical assessment, medical practitioners of public hospitals/clinics will assess applicants' disabling condition with the aid of a standardised Medical Assessment Form (MAF) and Checklist.  Both the MAF and Checklist have set out that "visceral disability" is covered by "any other disabling conditions resulting in total disablement".  As stoma is one type of "visceral disability", patients with stoma will be eligible for "DA" if they are certified by a medical practitioner of a public hospital/clinic to be severely disabled.  As the medical condition varies among patients with stoma, the result of the above medical assessment and the duration of "DA" for individual patients could differ.

     Regarding "Registration Card for People with Disabilities" (Registration Card), the Central Registry for Rehabilitation (CRR) of the Labour and Welfare Bureau may issue the Registration Card to PWDs with permanent or temporary disabilities which affect their life activities and participation in economic and social activities, in order to facilitate them to produce a documentary proof of his/her disability status and type of disabilities as required.  Registration is entirely voluntary.  It is not a documentary proof for discount of goods or services.  Application for the Registration Card requires documentary proof issued by doctors or allied health personnel in order to certify the type, severity, status and duration of the disability(ies) of the applicant.  Patients with stoma are eligible for the Registration Card if he/she is certified by a registered doctor or allied health personnel to have met the relevant criteria.

(d) As at the end of September 2009, a total of 67,587 PWDs were receiving "DA" under the category of "any other disabling conditions resulting in total disablement" (including "visceral disability").  We do not have the statistical breakdown of patients with stoma among these PWDs.

     Regarding the Registration Card, patients with stoma who are eligible for the Registration Card will be included under the disability type of "visceral disability/chronic illness".  As at the end of September 2009, CRR issued a total of 8,197 cards to patients with "visceral disability/chronic illness".  CRR does not have the statistical breakdown of patients with stoma among these PWDs.

Ends/Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Issued at HKT 14:50