Speech by CE at Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital Grand Opening Ceremony (English Only) (with photos/video)
Dato' Mohammed Azlan (Chairman of IHH Healthcare Berhad, Dato' Mohammed Azlan bin Hashim), YP (Executive Director and CEO of NWS Holdings Limited, Mr Tsang Yam-pui), Arthur (Council Chairman of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), Professor Arthur Li) , Paul (Acting President and Vice-Chancellor of HKU, Professor Paul Tam), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It is a great pleasure to be here today, to be celebrating with you the grand opening of Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital.
This may be the formal opening ceremony, but I know that the doors of Gleneagles have been open wide and welcoming for a full year now. In that time, the hospital has become a valued addition to Hong Kong and to our dual-track healthcare system.
While Hong Kong prides itself on a free market economy and a vibrant private sector, when it comes to hospital services the public sector, namely through the 42 hospitals and institutions of the Hospital Authority, remains a major provider, taking care of some 90 per cent of all in-patient treatment in terms of in-patient bed days. Knowing how much Hong Kong people treasure this safe, quality, accessible and affordable system, as the Chief Executive, I have no intention to make fundamental changes, except to strengthen its management and relieve its work pressure. Hence, this term of the Government has significantly increased its annual subvention to the Hospital Authority and has committed to an extra HK$300 billion capital works programme to support the second 10-year hospital development plan, improve the clinic facilities of the Department of Health, and upgrade and increase healthcare training facilities. This is, I should add, on top of the HK$200 billion committed through the first 10-year plan.
But that does not mean we should not promote public-private partnership in order to make better use of our resources and to provide more comprehensive and choice care for our people. Indeed, the mix of public and private sectors in our healthcare services has served Hong Kong well for decades. With world-class additions such as Gleneagles, that system will no doubt become stronger, more efficient and better equipped to respond to the varying needs of the people of Hong Kong.
The opening of Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital also underlines my Government's commitment to promoting private sector services where appropriate, and facilitating the adoption of standards to meet public aspirations. This Hospital provides 500 beds, day procedure services and a variety of specialist out-patient services. And it is the second private hospital in Hong Kong offering 24-hour accident and emergency services.
In the land tendering process, and through the Service Deed entered into between the Government and the Hospital, local residents are guaranteed at least 70 per cent of in-patient bed days, and that more than half of in-patient services to local residents will be provided through package plans. Gleneagles’ transparent fee-charging system ensures cost certainty and transparency, which will go some way towards addressing patients’ main concern in using private hospital service. I hope this will have a demonstrating and benchmarking effect and our other private hospitals will soon follow suit.
The Government announced earlier this month details of the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme, which seeks to enhance the protection offered to individuals under hospital insurance. By regulating products under the scheme, the Government hopes to offer the public a new choice of insurance products with comprehensive coverage. The scheme, together with the proposed tax deduction for the premium, should encourage more people to use private healthcare services through hospital insurance, thereby relieving the pressure on the public healthcare system in the long run.
We are, let me add, strengthening our regulatory regime for private healthcare facilities. A bill to that effect is now with the Legislative Council and will cover a wide range of facilities, including private hospitals. Under the Bill, licensed facilities will have to comply with corporate governance, complaint management, price transparency, infection control and other requirements. The Bill will help protect patient rights and safety, while encouraging the good growth of our private healthcare sector.
Our population is ageing rapidly, and the rising demand for healthcare services is a challenge we all have to face. The Government will pool all efforts to rise to this challenge by investing in research and development, promoting innovation and technology and driving greater cross-sector, cross-profession collaboration. In short, we are committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of all Hong Kong citizens.
Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital, with the University of Hong Kong's Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine as its clinical partner, will surely make a substantial difference to the private healthcare sector. So, my congratulations again to Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital, and everyone behind it. I am pleased to welcome you to our Hong Kong community.
My best wishes to you all on this very special day. Thank you very much.
Ends/Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Issued at HKT 18:28
Issued at HKT 18:28