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Hospital Authority welcomes budget allocation in 2010-11

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The Hospital Authority (HA) Chairman, Mr Anthony Wu, welcomed the Budget announced by the Financial Secretary today (February 24) regarding the continual increase in the recurrent budget allocation to the Authority.

     "The Government has committed last year to increasing the annual recurrent subvention for the HA by $872 million each year from 2009-10 to 2011-12. We are very pleased that in 2010-11, the Government has given us an additional $360 million, giving us a total additional recurrent provision of $1.24 billion as compared to the current financial year (2009-10). The continuous support of the Government reflects its confidence in the HA and commitment to providing quality healthcare services to the community," Mr Wu said.

     "We have always treasured our staff who come first and foremost. With the additional funding, we will continue to address our manpower issues, and in particular, we will be putting additional resources in training more registered nurses and enrolled nurses."

     "To complement the Government's healthcare reforms and initiatives, we will implement new initiatives and continue with the ongoing ones. We will expand coverage of the HA Drug Formulary and enhance the cataract surgeries. We will also be enhancing services for treatment of life-threatening diseases, including haemodialysis service, palliative care for patients with end-stage renal diseases, clinical oncology service, integrated cancer care and acute cardiac care. Mental health services will also be strengthened."

     Mr Wu also thanked the Government for the capital funding of $600 million for procurement of medical equipment, which represents nearly a three-fold increase as compared with the provision some three years back. "Keep modernising the HA is what we have been doing in recent years. We will use the money in the most efficient and prudent manner for the benefit of our patients," Mr Wu added.

     Elaborating on the key service programmes in the coming fiscal year, HA Chief Executive, Mr Shane Solomon, said that the additional provision in 2010-11 will be able to cover funding requirements arising from an ageing and growing population, improvements to service quality and patient safety, and modernisation and replacement of equipment. Healthcare services in the Hong Kong East, Kowloon East and New Territories West clusters in particular would be enhanced through opening of additional acute and convalescent beds.

     Mr Solomon added that the HA is committed to reducing the waiting time for cancer surgeries, cataract surgeries and joint replacement."In particular, cataract services will be enhanced through improving HA hospitals' throughput and continuation of the public-private-partnership programme rolled out in early 2008. A specialist centre will also be established in the Hong Kong Buddhist Hospital for joint replacement surgery,"he said.

     "With the additional funding from the Government, we will be able to shorten the waiting time for new cases in specialist outpatient clinics with the provision of 13,000 additional specialist outpatient attendances for first consultation appointment."

     "Mental health services will be strengthened through introduction of a pilot case management programme and personalised care programme for patients with severe mental illness in Kwun Tong, Yuen Long and Kwai Tsing districts. Treatment of patients with common mental disorders will also be enhanced by providing more timely treatment at psychiatric outpatient clinics and introducing an integrated mental health programme in the primary care settings."

     "The HA Drug Formulary will be expanded by including eight new drugs of proven cost-effectiveness and efficacy as standard drugs for rare metabolic diseases, colorectal and lung cancer. The clinical use of nine classes of drugs will also be expanded in the treatment of hepatitis, diabetes mellitus and hypertension, breast cancer, wet aged-related-macular degeneration, cardio-vascular diseases and mental illness," Mr Solomon said.

     Other key programmes to be implemented in 2010-11 are as follows:

1. Introduction of modern proven technology, including antibody detection technology for renal transplant patients, molecular diagnostic tests for cancer patients and infection control, Down Syndrome screening tests for pregnant women, and medical devices for immediate life threatening emergencies.

2. Enhance service provision of Substance Abuse Clinics to improve treatment to drug abusers with mental health problems.

3. Enhance support to discharged elderly patients through expansion of service of the Community Health Call Centres to all hospital clusters.

4. Strengthen support for chronic patients by expanding the comprehensive multi-disciplinary Risk Assessment and Management Programme and provision of systematic diabetic complication screening.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Issued at HKT 19:19


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