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LegCo to debate a motion on establishing a communication mechanism between China and Hong Kong

The following is issued on behalf of the Legislative Council Secretariat:

     The Legislative Council will hold a meeting this Wednesday (March 9) at 11am in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building. During the meeting, Members will debate a motion on establishing a communication mechanism between China and Hong Kong.
     The motion, to be moved by Hon Ronny Tong, states: "That this Council urges the authorities to study establishing expeditiously a direct, effective and permanent communication mechanism, so as to enable the three sides of Beijing, the Hong Kong Government and Hong Kong's elected representatives to, on basis of not violating the principle of 'one country, two systems', exchange views on issues relating to constitutional arrangements, people's livelihood, economy, planning, environmental protection, transportation and tourism, etc., thereby materialising the unique political, economic and social status of the HKSAR under the Basic Law, and building the foundation of long-term mutual understanding and trust among Beijing, Hong Kong and its people; particularly under the aforesaid principles, this Council urges the authorities to establish:

(a)  a formal channel to enable council representatives to, outside of the Executive Authorities, exchange views with Mainland officials on relevant issues;

(b)  a permanent liaison mechanism between representative councils and the Mainland's municipal and provincial governments, so as to facilitate discussion on issues of concern to both sides; and

(c)  a mechanism for regular exchange of visits to enable Hong Kong's elected representative councils to exchange views directly with the Mainland's law-making bodies and other relevant departments."

     Hon Albert Ho will move an amendment to Hon Ronny Tong's motion.

     Dr Hon Leung Ka-lau will move a motion on reforming the Hospital Authority.  The motion, states: "That during the 20 years since the establishment of the Hospital Authority (HA), its annual spending of public money has increased from $7.7 billion to $33 billion, yet due to its unsatisfactory management, the morale of frontline healthcare personnel is low and the quality of care varies; the distribution of resources among various clusters is uneven, and the per capita share of hospital beds, healthcare personnel and funding can vary by as much as 200%; its administrative structure is cumbersome, and the annual salaries of the Chief Executive as well as the 33 Directors, Cluster Chief Executives and Hospital Chief Executives are as high as $2 million to over $4 million; the working condition for its employees is poor, and the working hours of healthcare personnel are long, and it is common to be on duty for 28 consecutive hours; the waiting time for specialist services is too long, thus causing delay in treatment, and the subsidies to patients for using outsourced services are on the low side, thus failing to divert them to the private medical system; the transparency of the HA Drug Formulary is inadequate, and hence patients and the public are unable to find out the drug assessment criteria; and the means test under the Samaritan Fund is too harsh, making many patients fall outside the safety net and unable to receive due protection; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to thoroughly review the operation of HA and put forward reform proposals, including:

(a)  using disease treatment costs and service volume as the basis, to formulate objective funding criteria for each hospital cluster, and to allocate appropriate resources to hospitals in busy districts so as to avoid wastage or shortage of resources for developing services in individual hospital clusters; through the Internet or enquiry hotlines, to make public information about making appointments of various hospitals, and proactively advise patients of hospitals in busy districts to seek cross-district medical treatment, so as to balance the supply of and demand for healthcare services in various districts;

(b)  to review whether the management structure of the Head Office overlaps with those of hospital clusters, so as to streamline the relevant structure;

(c)  to formulate manpower indicators based on workload, and to set standard working hours for healthcare personnel and provide them with half-time job options, with a view to reducing medical blunders and staff wastage;

(d)  to reorganise specialist services, reduce unnecessary internal referrals, strengthen primary medical care, and increase the subsidies to patients for using outsourced services, so as to divert patients to the private medical system;

(e)  in respect of decisions to add any drugs to or remove any drugs from the HA Drug Formulary, to publish drug efficacy reports and financial implication assessments, and include patients' quality of living as a criterion of evaluation, so as to maximise the social effectiveness of drug subsidies, and even drugs 'which have preliminary medical evidence only' should be included in the safety net of subsidies, and their removal should only be considered when their efficacy is negated, so as to reduce disputes; and

(f)  to relax the application threshold of the Samaritan Fund, and set a fixed ceiling for patients' co-payment."

     Dr Hon Pan Pey-chyou, Dr Hon Joseph Lee, Hon Chan Hak-kan, Hon Cheung Man-kwong and Hon Alan Leong will move separate amendments to Dr Hon Leung Ka-lau's motion.

     Meanwhile, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury will move a proposed resolution under the Public Finance Ordinance to seek the Council's approval to a sum not exceeding $60,220,429,000 to be charged on the general revenue for expenditure on the services of the Government in respect of the financial year commencing on April 1, 2011.

     On Bills, the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2011 will be introduced into the Council for First and Second Readings.  Second Reading debate on the bill will be adjourned.
Members will also ask the Administration 20 questions on various policy areas, six of which require oral replies.

     The agenda of the above meeting can be obtained via the LegCo InfoFax Service (Tel: 2869 9568) or the LegCo website ( Please note that the agenda is subject to change, and the latest information about the agenda could be found in the LegCo website.

     Members of the public are welcome to observe the proceedings of the meeting from the public galleries of the Legislative Council Chamber. They may reserve seats by calling 2869 9399 during office hours. Seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Members of the public can also listen to the meeting via the web broadcast system on the Legislative Council homepage.

Ends/Monday, March 7, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:28


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