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Hospital Authority welcomes budget allocation in 2018-19
The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The Hospital Authority (HA) Chairman, Professor John Leong, welcomed the 2018-19 Budget announced by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, today (February 28) at the Legislative Council, which increased the recurrent financial provision to the HA by $6 billion to $61.5 billion, representing a rise of 11 per cent over this year.
     Apart from welcoming the substantial increase in financial provision in 2018-19, Professor Leong also expressed special gratitude for the Government's commitment on a triennial progressive funding arrangement. He said, "The new arrangement, having regard to population growth rates and demographic changes, committed further increases in the financial provision to the HA to the tune of $2.9 billion in 2019-20 and $3 billion in 2020-21.
     "The triennium funding arrangement enables the HA to formulate proactive plans and sustained initiatives for the coming three years, through medium-term strategies, to augment the capacity of public hospital services and manpower to meet the challenges of increasing demand and the ageing population."
     Professor Leong further expressed his gratitude for the Government's visionary commitment on the second 10-year hospital development plan, in particular the redevelopment of Princess Margaret Hospital and Tuen Mun Hospital.

     He said, "We will present proposals on the plan to the Government as soon as possible. At the same time, we also hope the five hospital development projects currently in the pipeline will receive favourable support from the Finance Committee of Legislative Council, namely, Queen Mary Hospital Phase I, New Acute Hospital at Kai Tak District Area, Kwong Wah Hospital main works, Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital and Grantham Hospital.
     "Regarding the recently completed hospital projects, we will make preparation for commencement of services in the Hong Kong Children's Hospital, and continue to commission more services in Tin Shui Wai Hospital and North Lantau Hospital during the year.
     "To meet the growing demand, we will open a total of 574 additional beds in 2018-19 across the territory, as compared to 229 new beds this year. Pressure on primary care services and accident and emergency services will also be relieved by further increasing quotas for general outpatient services and enhancing the services of nurse clinics."
     The HA Chief Executive, Dr Leung Pak-yin, said the HA will continue to strengthen its workforce by recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals, amid an improving outlook of medical manpower supply in the coming years. He said, "With some additional $200 million allocation each year, we will enhance the structured training mechanism for healthcare professionals including clinical practicum, staff training and development and specialist training. We will also continue to rehire retired doctors and recruit non-locally trained doctors under limited registration to meet imminent service needs."
     To address the challenge of an ageing population, Dr Leung outlined the enhancements in elderly services, including the geriatric fragility fracture co-ordination services, restorative rehabilitative services for elderly patients and an additional joint replacement centre.

     He said, "We will also support District Elderly Community Centres in regularising the Dementia Community Support Scheme, which provides support services to elderly persons with dementia via a medical-social collaboration model.
     "Palliative care services will be strengthened for inpatients and home care support, as well as for terminally ill patients living in residential care homes for the elderly."

     Dr Leung added that the HA would augment mental health services for severe mental illness, common mental disorders and children and adolescents with mental health needs.
     "Alongside enhancements in accident and emergency, surgical, endoscopic, diagnostic imaging and pharmacy services, we will continue to make use of investment returns generated from the $10 billion Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Endowment Fund allocated to the HA to operate clinical PPP programmes to alleviate pressure on the public healthcare system."
Ends/Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:47
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