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Speech by PSLW at international conference on promoting chronic care (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Paul Tang Kwok-wai, at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Promoting Chronic Care 2010 - Towards a Community-based Chronic Care Model for Asia today (January 8):

Dr Shin Young-soo (Regional Director for the Western Pacific, World Health Organisation), Dr David Fang (President, the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation), Prof Gabriel Leung (Under Secretary for Food and Health), Prof Albert Lee (Chairman, Organising Committee), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     I am most delighted to join you all for the opening ceremony of this International Conference on Promoting Chronic Care 2010.  First and foremost, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all participants, including members from the rehabilitation sector, the health sector, academics, groups of people with chronic illness and their families, and in particular delegates from overseas and Mainland China. I would also like to express my special thanks to the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation for organising this important conference, providing an invaluable opportunity for us to share experiences on building a community-based chronic care model.

     According to the "Special Topics Report No 48: Persons with Disabilities and Chronic Diseases" published by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department in 2008, of the 1.1 million people who require long-term medical treatment consultation or medication for certain types of diseases among Hong Kong's population, about 94.1% of them are residing in households. These figures indicate an overwhelming demand for community-based rehabilitation services for people with chronic illness and their families.

     Self-management and empowerment of people with chronic diseases are the key factors for success in service development. Hence, as enshrined in 2007 Hong Kong Rehabilitation Programme Plan, the two strategic directions for the development of the rehabilitation service are: to promote cross-sectoral collaboration in providing a barrier-free environment and diversified services for people with disabilities so as to facilitate their integration into the community; and to empower people with disabilities and their carers, to help them become valuable social capital. In this regard, the Hong Kong Government has taken active efforts in development of community-based care and support services for people with chronic problems in the past years. These services aim to assist people with chronic illness in developing their potential, enabling them to continue to live independently at home and preparing them for full integration into the community; as well as to strengthen the support to, thereby relieving the stress of their family carers.

     Recently, we also introduced a new service model for enhancement of community support services. In January 2009, we set up 16 district support centres in the territory to provide one-stop and district-based community support services for people with disabilities and their carers. Following the setting up of a pilot integrated community centre for mental wellness in March 2009, we will apply this model across the territory to provide district-based, one stop and integrated community support services for people with mental health problems and their family carers.

     To achieve optimal outcome in the rehabilitation of people with chronic illness, seamless interfacing of the health care and social care systems is vital. To this end, cross-sectoral collaboration between the health and rehabilitation sectors, service providers and service users as well as government and non-governmental sectors are the key success factors in the development of an effective chronic care model. This conference provides a suitable platform for various sectors to foster closer partnerships and to explore measures for further enhancement in this important service area. It is also an international forum for us to share our experiences, expertise and innovations for mapping out visionary directions for our future service development.

     This conference also marks the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation and the 15th anniversary of its Community Rehabilitation Network. The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation has always played an instrumental and pioneer role in developing community-based rehabilitation, including community care and support and self-management programmes for people with chronic health problems in Hong Kong. I would like to express most sincerely my appreciation of the excellent efforts of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation and the organising committee of this conference in spearheading this event. I wish the conference a great success and everyone here a very fruitful experience.  Thank you.

Ends/Friday, January 8, 2010
Issued at HKT 10:57


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