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2016 Policy Address by Chief Executive (11)

Chinese Medicine

232. Traditional Chinese medicine is of great value and has been making significant contributions to the health of mankind.  The award of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine to Ms Tu Youyou has shown the world that the knowledge and theories of traditional Chinese medicine can be taken to a new level through the application of modern science and technology.  Built on a solid foundation, the practice of Chinese medicine in Hong Kong is blessed with an internationally recognised regulatory regime and close connections with world-class research institutions and experts.  The Government is determined to develop Hong Kong into a regional innovation hub in the area of technologies and their application.  Therefore, Hong Kong is well prepared to further the development of Chinese medicine.

233. The Chinese Medicine Development Committee set up by the current-term Government has put forward plans for the development of Chinese medicine in four major areas, namely Chinese medicine services, personnel training and professional development, research and development and the Chinese medicines industry.  The Government has been implementing the committee's recommendations in phases, including the launch of the Integrated Chinese-Western Medicine Pilot Project by the HA and the planning and establishment of a testing centre for Chinese medicines to be administered by the Department of Health.

234. The Government has reserved a site in Tseung Kwan O to develop a Chinese medicine hospital.  It has also completed the compilation of Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards for about 230 Chinese materia medica commonly used in Hong Kong, and will launch a pilot study on the standard setting for Chinese medicines decoction pieces.

Healthcare Reform

Healthcare Manpower Planning and Professional Development

235. To maintain quality healthcare services and to ensure the sustainable development of the services, the Government will soon complete the strategic review of healthcare manpower planning and professional development and implement the recommendations in phases.  This will serve to meet the future demand and keep the regulatory regimes for healthcare professions in pace with the times.

236. Based on the preliminary results of the strategic review, the Government will increase the number of publicly-funded degree places in medicine, dentistry and other healthcare disciplines by 50, 20 and 68 respectively in the 2016/17 to 2018/19 triennium.  It will gradually implement other regulatory proposals including launching a voluntary accredited registers scheme for supplementary healthcare professions.

237. The Government plans to introduce a bill to this Council in the first quarter of this year for amending the Medical Registration Ordinance, which will cover, among other things, the proposal made by a Legislative Council Member to increase by four the number of lay members appointed to the Medical Council of Hong Kong (MCHK).  The proposed increase aims at improving the MCHK's mechanism for complaint investigation and disciplinary inquiry.  Moreover, the Government will review the organisation structure of the MCHK in detail to ensure that there is sufficient professional representation and public engagement, and to enhance its administrative flexibility in admitting non-locally trained professionals to meet local demand.

Regulation of Private Healthcare Facilities

238. The Government will tighten the regulation of private healthcare facilities by establishing a new regulatory regime through legislation to ensure patient safety and protect consumer rights.

Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme

239. The Government will prepare to implement the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme, including setting the minimum requirements for insurance products, drafting standardised policy terms and conditions and planning for the migration of existing policies.

Electronic Health Record Sharing

240. The Electronic Health Record Sharing System, which promotes co-operation between the public and private sectors, will be commissioned early this year.  The second stage of the programme will also commence in due course.  Tentatively, the project will cover sharing of radiological images and expansion of the sharable scope of data.

XI. Culture, Leisure and Municipal Services

Culture, Recreation and Sport

241. The Government continues to press ahead with the West Kowloon Cultural District project.  The Nursery Park was open to the public last year.  The Government will launch a $300 million Art Development Matching Grants Pilot Scheme, under which the amount of private donation and sponsorship secured by local art groups will be matched by grants.

242. The month-long free museum admission under the "Appreciate Hong Kong" Campaign has been well received by the public.  The Government has decided to make free admission to the permanent exhibitions of designated LCSD museums a standing practice.

243. I have decided to implement the proposal in my Manifesto and appoint the Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs responsible for sports policies as the Commissioner for Sports to co-ordinate cross-bureau or cross-departmental sports initiatives.

244. Commenced in last August, the detailed preparatory works for the Multi-purpose Sports Complex at Kai Tak are expected to be completed next year.  

245. The Government will formulate a career programme for retired athletes, under which schools and national sports associations will be subsidised and encouraged to employ retired athletes.  This will help the athletes build a solid foundation for their career plans and future development, and assist schools and national sports associations in promoting sport and nurture sporting talent.

Municipal Services

246. Many public markets are in prime locations, but their management mode and facilities are outdated.  The Government is actively following up on improvement works in several public markets to enhance their competitiveness.  It will also formulate plans to improve, alter the use of or vacate individual public markets and cooked food centres.

247. Our society has been beset with problems relating to the supply and management of columbaria for years.  The Government has secured the support of DCs for the proposed provision of about 450 000 new niches.  It will continue to consult the DCs on new projects to secure the supply of public niches for the next 15 years.  The Government will endeavour to promote green burials in the long run.  On the management front, it is rendering full support to the Bills Committee in the scrutiny of the Private Columbaria Bill, with the aim of passing the bill within the current legislative year to facilitate early implementation of a licensing scheme.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 13:15


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