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Hospital Authority welcomes budget allocation for 2012-13

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The Hospital Authority (HA) Chairman, Mr Anthony Wu, welcomed the 2012-13 Budget announced by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, today (February 1) and the continual increase in the recurrent budget allocation to the authority.

     "We thank the Government for increasing the recurrent provision in 2012-13 for the HA by $2.59 billion, representing an increase of 6.7 per cent over the current year," Mr Wu said.

     "We are especially overjoyed to get the green light for the long-awaited redevelopment project for two of the oldest hospitals in Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital (QMH) and Kwong Wah Hospital (KWH).

     "The two redevelopment projects, in addition to the expansion project of United Christian Hospital committed to by the Chief Executive in his latest Policy Address, are going to give a facelift to the outdated building structures and obsolete facilities our patients and health-care staff are now using."

     The redevelopment project at QMH will be carried out in phases for a new Heart and Cancer Centre Block housing all cardiac and cardiothoracic procedures and operating facilities, intensive care units (ICUs) and wards; a Clinical Oncology service; an Accident and Emergency (A&E) Block housing an upgraded A&E Department with Observation Ward and Emergency Medicine Wards, besides other operation and ICU facilities; and the refurbishment of an existing building.

     At Kwong Wah Hospital, the redevelopment project comprises the Chinese medicine (CM) outpatient clinic; an inpatient Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine Ward; CM Laboratory and Radiology facilities; the A&E Department and Emergency Medicine Ward; and inpatient wards, operating theatres and ICUs.

     "While these redevelopment projects are vital to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency in patient service delivery, there is bound to be some inconvenience caused to current services, which cannot be interrupted at all," added Mr Wu, who appealed to public hospital patients for their understanding and accommodation when the redevelopment works take place.

     Commenting on the other key service improvement programmes in the coming fiscal year, the HA Chief Executive, Dr Leung Pak-yin, said that with the increased financial provision, the HA will be able to increase the number of neonatal intensive care beds by 10 per cent in five hospital clusters, enhance haemodialysis services for end-stage renal disease patients, enhance magnetic resonance imaging and computerised tomography scanning services for the diagnosis of critical illnesses, and extend the Case Management Programme to four more districts (Kowloon City, Central and Western, Southern and Islands) to provide support for people with severe mental illness.

     While the coverage of the Drug Formulary will be expanded to provide more drugs with higher efficacy, Dr Leung added that $10 billion will be added to the Samaritan Fund to provide adequate provision for its operation in the next 10 years or so. The financial condition assessment will also be relaxed to benefit more patients.

     "To address the shortfall in medical staff due to the inadequate supply of medical students, additional funding will be allocated to measures to retain current staff, including additional Associate Consultant promotion posts, special allowances and additional part-time posts, to alleviate the workload of full-time staff," Dr Leung said.

     He added that there will also be more overseas training opportunities and training subsidies for the career development of nursing and allied health staff.

     Other key enhancements to be implemented in 2012-13 are as follows:

- Opening of additional beds in Kowloon East Cluster and New Territories West Cluster;

- Enhancing chronic disease services by adopting a multidisciplinary approach in accordance with the primary care development strategy;

- Improving service quality and safety including strengthening of support for clinical service delivery; and

- Enhancing response to contingencies.

Ends/Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:23


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