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Commission on Poverty convenes 20th meeting in its second term
     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, chaired the 20th meeting of the Commission on Poverty (CoP) in its second term this afternoon (August 31).
     At the meeting, members took note of the progress of the implementation of various Community Care Fund (CCF) assistance programmes and the CCF's financial position. They also endorsed the extension of the Elderly Dental Assistance Programme to benefit more elderly people, and the launch of a community support programme for elderly people with dementia. The details are as follows:
(1) The CoP endorsed extending the Elderly Dental Assistance Expanded Programme starting from this October to elderly people who are Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) recipients aged 75 or above. Originally covering OALA recipients aged 80 or above, the new phase of extension is expected to benefit an additional 24 600 elderly people. The expenditure required will be absorbed by the approved total provision of $817.11 million. The CoP also delegated to the Food and Health Bureau and the Hong Kong Dental Association to further extend the Programme to elderly people of younger age groups in future so long as extra provision is not required.
(2) The CoP endorsed the launch of the Pilot Scheme on Dementia Community Support Services for the Elderly (named as Dementia Community Support Scheme). Through medical-social collaboration, it will provide support services to elderly people aged 60 or above who suffer from mild or moderate dementia through 20 District Elderly Community Centres (DECCs) (about half of the DECCs in Hong Kong) subvented by the Social Welfare Department (SWD). Under the Pilot Scheme, based on the care plans formulated jointly by the Hospital Authority (HA) and the SWD, the DECCs will provide suitable care, training and support services to the elderly people at the community level. This will help stabilise progression of the disease and alleviate their distress of going into and coming out of hospitals, through which the goal of ageing in place can be achieved. Carers will be provided with knowledge of care, stress management training, counselling services and other supports under the Pilot Scheme, reducing their stress and burden in taking care of the elderly people. Besides, through cross-sector collaboration, the HA can gradually reduce the elderly's waiting time for assessments and specialist consultation. This two-year Pilot Scheme will start in February 2017 with a total provision of $98.88 million and is expected to benefit about 2 000 elderly people.
     In addition, the CoP was briefed on the preliminary data concerning the poverty line of 2015 and related analysis. At the meeting, the Government Economist took members through the initial analysis of the 2015 poverty situation and the newly-added supplementary data, which enabled a more in-depth understanding of the poverty situation in Hong Kong. Taking into account members' comments raised at the meeting, the Government Economist will finalise the detailed analysis of the 2015 poverty situation. The relevant data will be announced at the CoP Summit to be held later this year.
     The CoP also noted the programme rundown of this year's CoP Summit, during which the updated poverty situation of 2015 will be announced. Social innovation will be the theme of this year’s Summit, and specialists will be invited to give speeches and take part in the thematic panel discussions. In addition to members of the CoP and its four task forces, representatives from the political, business and academic sectors, think tanks, non-governmental organisations, concerned groups and more will be invited to attend the Summit to review and chart the way forward for the CoP’s work within this term of government.
Ends/Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:09
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