LCQ10: Medical facilities and medical centers of excellence

     Following is a question by the Ir Dr Hon Raymond Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (October 20):


Will the Government inform this Council,

(a) given that the number of capital subvention projects for the provision of medical services submitted to the Finance Committee of this Council for funding approval had decreased in the past four sessions, whether the Government has assessed if the decrease reflects a reduction in the medical needs of the community; and

(b) given that it was stated in the Policy Agenda for the 2008-2009 Policy Address that the establishment of multi-partite medical centres of excellence in paediatrics and neuroscience to improve the quality of clinical services to patients suffering from complex and serious illnesses as well as to enhance the standards of research and training in the two respective medical disciplines was under preparation, of the current status of such projects?



(a) The Hospital Authority (HA) has been planning for the provision of hardware facilities in public hospitals having regard to such factors as the increase in service demand arising from a growing and ageing population in Hong Kong, the standards required of modern medical equipment and the wear and tear of existing medical facilities. HA acquires additional medical facilities and replaces obsolete ones through various projects in order to meet the demand for healthcare services and ensure the provision of quality services to the public.

     Over the years, we have obtained funding approval from the Legislative Council for the use of the capital subventions to carry out a number of capital works such as expansion, redevelopment, reprovisioning and refurbishment of existing hospitals, improvement of facilities and equipment in hospitals as well as construction of new hospitals. In the past four legislative years, the Finance Committee has approved an aggregate total of more than $6.4 billion to carry out seven capital works projects for medical facilities. Apart from this, HA is granted allocation under Head 708 Subhead 8100MX every year to carry out maintenance and minor improvement works for public hospitals. In 2009-10, $600 million was approved under this subhead for HA to carry out about 1,000 number of minor works.

     The planning of capital works projects involves a series of work and procedures. In general, we need to prepare a project definition statement to describe the requirements and specific details of the proposed project and to carry out various preliminary technical assessments to ascertain its technical feasibility. Thereafter we will consult the views of the local community. Upon completion of relevant preparatory work and estimation of capital works expenditure, we will seek funding approval from the Legislative Council and commence the works.

     Work projects pertinent to medical facilities are carried out on a needs basis. The time required for project preparatory work is also different among projects as the scale, scope and nature of each project are not the same. For these reasons, there is no regular pattern for the number of projects requiring approval from the Legislative Council for capital subventions each year. We will continue to conduct planning for the hardware of medical facilities to ensure that the public will continue to be provided with adequate quality medical facilities.

(b) In the last two years, we have been working closely with experts from the public and private medical and academic sectors as well as representatives from allied health groups and patients' groups to prepare for the establishment of the two medical centres of excellence. An initial consensus has been reached on the scale and facilities of the centres.  It has been decided that the two centres will be built at the Kai Tak Development Area.  

     We have completed the technical feasibility study for the Centre of Excellence in Paediatrics and are now finalising the schedules of accommodation. Upon finalising the details, we will seek funding approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council in 2011.

     We will continue to work with experts from various sectors and representatives of related groups on matters regarding the Centre of Excellence in Neuroscience.

Ends/Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:16