2016 Policy Address by Chief Executive (10)

X. Healthcare

Public Healthcare Services

220. An ageing population puts tremendous pressure on our healthcare services.  This year, the HA will strive to provide about 230 additional hospital beds, and increase operating theatre sessions, quotas for general out-patient consultation, places for endoscopy examination and provision of emergency surgical service this year.

Ten-year Blueprint for Hospital Development

221. To meet new demand and improve existing services, the Government has worked with the HA to devise an overall hospital development plan, and $200 billion will be used to implement the plan in the next ten years.

222. Tin Shui Wai Hospital and the Hong Kong Children's Hospital are expected to be completed in 2016 and 2017 respectively.  Apart from projects that have commenced, namely the redevelopment of Kwong Wah Hospital, Queen Mary Hospital and United Christian Hospital, and stage one construction of an acute general hospital in the Kai Tak Development Area, the hospital development plan for the coming decade also includes stage two construction of the acute general hospital in the Kai Tak Development Area, and the redevelopment or expansion projects of the Tuen Mun Hospital Operating Theatre Block, Haven of Hope Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, Kwai Chung Hospital, North District Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital Lai King Building, Grantham Hospital and Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital.  The above projects will provide some 5 000 additional public hospital beds and over 90 new operating theatres.

223. The Government puts much emphasis on putting in place major hospitals to offer one-stop and multi-disciplinary healthcare services to the public.  According to the plan, the acute general hospital in the Kai Tak Development Area will provide around 2 400 beds.  Together with the 468-bed Hong Kong Children's Hospital, the two will form a large state-of-the-art medical centre.  This is another large-scale medical institute since the completion of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in 1993, which signifies our commitment to public healthcare services.

Ambulatory Services

224. An ageing population will lead to increased prevalence of chronic diseases.  The HA will progressively strengthen ambulatory services, including making plans to construct ambulatory care centres and large day hospitals, which will provide more facilities such as those for day surgery, rehabilitation, endoscopy, diagnostic radiology and laboratory services.  Patients who receive diagnosis and treatment in hospitals in the daytime and return home to recuperate can stay connected with their family and the community.  This is beneficial to their recovery and hospital beds to be used for serving patients in need.

Primary Care

225. We should begin with preventive care and encourage our people to pay attention to personal health.  We should make good use of community resources to improve healthcare services.  The Department of Health has devised reference frameworks for healthcare personnel and patients on diabetes, hypertension and preventive care for children and elderly people.  It has also established the Primary Care Directory, an electronic database to facilitate the public in their search for healthcare services.  The Government has proposed allocating $10 billion to the HA to set up an endowment fund to generate investment returns for regularising and enhancing pilot clinical public-private partnership (PPP) programmes, as well as develop new clinical PPP initiatives.  The Health and Medical Development Advisory Committee will focus on ways to further promote primary care to ensure the long-term sustainability of the public healthcare system.

226. The Government will invite the CCF to consider a pilot scheme for providing teenage girls from eligible low-income families with a free cervical cancer vaccination.

Mental Health

227. In accordance with the preliminary recommendations of the Review Committee on Mental Health, the HA will continue to allocate additional resources to provide new generation psychiatric drugs and strengthen manpower for enhancing psychiatric in-patient and out-patient services.  In addition, the HA and Social Welfare Department will launch a two-year pilot scheme to provide services for elderly persons with mild or mild to moderate dementia through medical-social collaboration at District Elderly Community Centres.  The scheme aims to reduce the waiting time for HA assessment and specialist services, and enhance community care services for dementia patients.

Implementing the Recommendations of the Review of the Hospital Authority

228. The Steering Committee on Review of Hospital Authority put forward 10 major recommendations in its report published in mid-2015.  With the introduction of measures such as refining the delineation of cluster boundary and resource allocation model, the waiting time of patients will be shortened and the HA will be better prepared for challenges such as an ageing population and increased prevalence of chronic diseases.  The Government has earmarked an additional one-off provision of over $1.1 billion for  three years starting from this year to facilitate implementation of the recommendations.

Public Health

Combating Seasonal Influenza

229. The Government has expanded on a pilot basis in 2015-16 the scope of the Government Vaccination Programme and the Vaccination Subsidy Schemes to cover persons with intellectual disabilities and elderly people aged 65 or above.  The measures will be regularised in 2016-17.

Tackling the Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance

230. Antimicrobial resistance poses a major threat to global public health.  The Government will set up a high-level steering committee to formulate strategies in collaboration with the relevant sectors to tackle the threat.

Tobacco Control and Smoking Cessation Services

231. The Government will step up inspection in statutory no-smoking areas, enhance smoking cessation services and consider the regulation of electronic cigarettes through legislation.  It will also strengthen public education on the potential harm of electronic cigarettes.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 13:08