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SFH starts visit to London (with photos)

     The Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, began his visit to London, the United Kingdom, in the morning of January 16 (London time). He had a breakfast meeting with officials from the UK's Department of Health and Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) to exchange views on areas including health-care manpower planning and professional development, as well as medical and health issues.

     He then paid a visit to the General Medical Council (GMC), which is an independent regulator for doctors in the UK. The Council has 24 members, of which 12 are doctors and 12 are lay members. Its major duty is to regulate registered doctors and follow-up on serious professional misconduct, which may affect the concerned doctor's registration. The CHRE aims to promote the health, safety and well-being of patients and other members of the public through the regulation of health professionals throughout the UK.

     Dr Chow told the UK medical experts that the Hong Kong Government would be conducting a strategic review on health-care manpower planning and professional development.

     "We will also look into the regulatory framework of health-care regulators. The governance, reforms and future developments of the GMC will be our good reference," he added.
     In the afternoon, Dr Chow and the Head of the Healthcare Planning and Development Office of the Food and Health Bureau, Mr Chris Sun, met with the Chairman of the National Health Service (NHS) National Patient Safety Agency, Sir Liam Donaldson, and the Acting Director of Customer Services and Assessment, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Mr Chris McAlpine, respectively to exchange views on the handling of medical incidents and the complaint system concerning health-care professionals.

     During the meeting, Dr Chow learnt that the NHS National Patient Safety Agency contributes to improved, safe patient care by informing, supporting and influencing organisations and people working in the health sector. It aims to reduce risks to patients receiving NHS care and improve safety. The Ombudsman's role is to consider complaints that government departments, a range of other public bodies in the UK and the NHS have not acted properly or fairly or have provided a poor service.

     Dr Chow will visit the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the morning of January 17 (London time). The Institute is an independent organisation under the UK's public health-care system to provide guidance and recommend quality standards on illness treatment and prevention. In the afternoon, he will depart for Geneva to attend the World Health Organization Executive Board Meeting as a member of the delegation of the People's Republic of China.

Ends/Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:10


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