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LCQ20: Elderly services

     Following is a question by the Hon Tang Ka-piu and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (October 22):


     The Government has all along adopted "ageing in place as the core, institutional care as back-up" as the policy objective for the provision of elderly services. Regarding community care services (CCS), quite a number of elderly people are of the view that the quality of the services is declining while service operators criticise that the amounts of subsidies provided by the Government are insufficient to cope with increasing costs and demand for services. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the respective amounts, and their annual rates of increase, of the subsidies provided in each of the past five years by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) for the delivery of CCS and the services of residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs);

(2) of the amounts of funds which SWD had allocated in the past 10 years from the Lotteries Fund to provide subsidies for various types of RCHEs, Day Care Centres/ Units for the Elderly, District Elderly Community Centres and Neighbourhood Elderly Centres, etc. to meet expenses such as construction, fitting-out, acquisition of furniture and installation of new equipment, etc.;

(3) of the respective unit costs, and their annual rates of increase, of the services under Integrated Home Care Services (IHCS) (Ordinary Cases), IHCS (Frail Cases) and Enhanced Home and Community Care Services (EHCCS) in each of the past 10 years;

(4) whether SWD currently awards contracts for the provision of IHCS (Ordinary Cases), IHCS (Frail Cases) and EHCCS through bidding; if so, of the total number of bidding exercises conducted in the past 10 years by SWD for various types of services, the contract period each time when contracts were awarded, the number of service places of each service as provided in the contracts, and whether each service place was given the same amount of subsidy; and

(5) whether SWD has considered adopting a flexible approach in allocating funding to service operators to allow them sufficient resources to meet the increasing demand for services and to ensure service quality; if it has not, of the reasons for that?



     My reply to the question raised by the Hon Tang Ka-piu is as follows:

(1) From 2009-10 to 2013-14, the amount and the growth rate of the subsidy for community care services and residential care services for the elderly are at Annex 1.

(2) From 2004-05 to 2013-14, the breakdowns of funding allocations from the Lotteries Fund for construction works, fitting-out and renovation works, and purchase of furniture and equipment for various types of residential care homes for the elderly, day care centres for the elderly, district elderly community centres, neighbourhood elderly centres, etc. are at Annex 2.

(3) From 2004-05 to 2013-14, the average cost per case served per month and the annual growth rate for Integrated Home Care Services (IHCS) and Enhanced Home and Community Care Services (EHCCS) are at Annex 3.

(4) The agency-based and district-based IHCS Teams serve both frail and ordinary cases. IHCS are subvented services under the Lump Sum Grant (LSG) Subvention System.

     The contracts for EHCCS are awarded through tenders. The Social Welfare Department (SWD) awarded a total of 24 EHCCS contracts to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in 2005 (first batch EHCCS) and 2008 (second batch EHCCS). SWD had extended the contracts of the two EHCCS batches in different periods, and all of these 24 EHCCS contracts will expire on February 28, 2017. The details of contract extension for the two EHCCS batches are provided in Annex 4.

     There are 24 EHCCS Teams serving elderly persons in all districts across the territory. The number of service places provided by each Team varies in view of different service demand in individual districts. The number of service places provided by each EHCCS Team (as at April 1, 2014) is at Annex 5. The unit subsidy for the service places may vary with the service volume as proposed by individual teams during the tendering exercise.

(5) At present, operating NGOs have the flexibility to deploy funding to meet their operating expenses, irrespective of whether the funding is provided through subvented services under the LSG Subvention System or contract service fees.

Ends/Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:30


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