Government plans to launch Pilot Scheme for Supporting Patients of Hospital Authority in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area
To take care of patients of the Hospital Authority (HA) who were unable to travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland as usual due to the compulsory quarantine measures implemented during the epidemic, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government launched a Special Support Scheme in November 2020 to commission the HKU-SZH to provide subsidised follow-up consultations for patients residing in the GBA with scheduled appointments at designated Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOPCs) or General Outpatient Clinics (GOPCs) of the HA (i.e. eligible persons). In the light of the continuously subsiding epidemic situation and resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland, the existing Special Support Scheme will end on May 9 this year.
The Special Support Scheme has served over 54 000 attendance by the end of February this year. Positive feedback from patients has been received since its launch, appreciating the continuity of care arrangement amid cross-boundary travel restrictions due to the epidemic. Even though travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland has resumed normal in recent months, there are also citizens who continue to use services of the HKU-SZH. Taking reference from the experience gained from the Special Support Scheme, the Government considered that such an arrangement serves to support the medical needs of Hong Kong citizens residing in the GBA and hence proposed to launch the Pilot Scheme right afterwards on May 10, so that eligible Hong Kong citizens residing in the GBA may continue to receive subsidised medical consultations at the HKU-SZH. The Health Bureau will consult members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) on their views about the Pilot Scheme at the meeting of the LegCo Panel on Health Services on April 19 and seek approval of the LegCo Finance Committee at a later juncture for alteration of scope of the originally approved commitment item of the Special Support Scheme for the use of the Pilot Scheme. Details of the proposed Pilot Scheme are available at www.legco.gov.hk/yr2023/english/panels/hs/papers/hs20230419cb4-295-8-e.pdf.
A spokesperson of the Health Bureau said, "Under the principles of 'complementarity and mutual benefits' and on the premise of benefitting the healthcare development of both the Mainland and Hong Kong, the HKSAR Government has all along been enhancing co-operation with various cities of the GBA, so as to improve policy measures that may provide more convenience for Hong Kong citizens to pursue development and live on the Mainland. The Government will continue to explore various feasible measures to cater for the medical needs of Hong Kong citizens residing in the GBA in a more effective manner. Based on past experiences, the Pilot Scheme will enhance our understanding of the feasibility of direct purchasing of healthcare services for Hong Kong citizens in the GBA."
The Pilot Scheme will be conducive to the HKSAR Government in analysing further and assessing the habits of seeking medical care on the Mainland of Hong Kong citizens residing in the GBA, in particular the usage pattern of relevant services and its effects on the Hong Kong public healthcare system after the full resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland, with a view to studying how the healthcare needs of Hong Kong citizens living on the Mainland, especially those residing in the GBA, can be addressed more effectively. The Government will also continue to look into measures such as further expanding the coverage of the Elderly Health Care Voucher (EHCV) to suitable healthcare institutions in the GBA, or subsidising the elderly residing in the GBA to purchase medical insurance on the Mainland with the EHCV.
Ends/Monday, April 17, 2023
Issued at HKT 13:19
Issued at HKT 13:19