SFH visits London (with photos)

     The Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, began his duty visit to London, the United Kingdom (UK), by meeting with the Chair of the General Medical Council (GMC), Professor Sir Peter Rubin, this morning (May 16, London time).

     The GMC has 12 members, of which six are doctors and six are lay members. Its main duty is to serve as an independent regulator of UK doctors and to follow-up on cases of serious professional misconduct that may affect doctors' registration.

     Dr Ko learnt that the GMC was undertaking reviews and studies on various fronts to enhance its role in safeguarding the safety and health of the UK citizens. He told UK medical experts at the meeting that the Hong Kong Government had embarked on a strategic review of future manpower demand in the healthcare sector, as well as the sector's needs for professional development. The experience of the GMC can be drawn on in Hong Kong's review, especially in terms of the regulatory regime for local doctors and other healthcare professionals, he added.

     In the afternoon, Dr Ko called on the Chairman of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Sir Gordon Duff. The MHRA is a UK government agency responsible for the regulation of medicines, medical devices and medical advertising, as well as for the investigation and prosecution of cases of non-compliance.

     During the meeting, both sides exchanged views on the regulatory control of advanced therapy medicinal products, medical devices and medical advertisements. Noting that Hong Kong was reviewing the regulatory regime for private healthcare facilities and formulating legislation to regulate medical devices, Dr Ko said the sophisticated regulatory system established in the UK could serve as a valuable reference for Hong Kong.    

     During his stay in London, Dr Ko also visited the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens). As a world leader in plant-based science, knowledge and expertise, Kew Gardens provides a range of services including natural product discovery and licensing, science and horticultural development, plant product authentication and collaborative research.

     At a meeting with the Director of Kew Gardens, Mr Richard Deverell, Dr Ko learned that a Chinese Medicinal Plants Authentication Centre had been established at Kew Gardens to offer an authentication service for a wide range of Chinese herbs currently available on the international market. Dr Ko considered that the experience of Kew Gardens would be highly valuable to developmental studies and work on Chinese medicine in Hong Kong.

     Accompanying Dr Ko on the London visit are the Director of Health, Dr Constance Chan, and the Assistant Director (Traditional Chinese Medicine) of the Department of Health, Dr Ronald Lam.

     Dr Ko will leave London for Geneva, Switzerland on the morning of May 18 (London time) to attend the 67th World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization.

Ends/Saturday, May 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 05:37