Speech by CS at Hospital Authority Convention 2023 Opening Ceremony (English only) (with photo/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Chan Kwok-ki, at the Hospital Authority Convention 2023 Opening Ceremony today (May 16):
Professor Yu Yanhong (Member of the Leading Party Members' Group of the National Health Commission cum Secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine), Henry (Chairman of the Hospital Authority, Mr Henry Fan), Tony (Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority, Dr Tony Ko), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to join you all at the Hospital Authority (HA) Convention 2023.
     I would first like to start by congratulating the HA on organising this signature event for healthcare professionals and stakeholders – not just from Hong Kong, but also from Mainland China, and beyond.
     The HA is part and parcel of Hong Kong's healthcare system. Despite challenges posed by the SARS in 2003 and the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years, our healthcare system has remained resilient and efficient. To date, the HA shoulders about 90 per cent of inpatient needs of society, providing a strong public healthcare safety net for citizens in Hong Kong.
     Over the years, the HA has been one of the most important partners of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government in safeguarding public health – from planning and implementing healthcare policy initiatives, to providing quality, comprehensive and people-centred public healthcare services.
     The professionalism and dedication of all the HA staff members, and of the healthcare sector at large in Hong Kong, deserve our heartfelt recognition and appreciation.
     Like many other economies from around the world, Hong Kong is faced with challenges posed by an ageing population, chronic and communicable diseases, and healthcare manpower shortage. In particular, I believe no one will dispute the importance of sufficient healthcare manpower to the provision of quality medical services.
     To this end, the HA is making wide-ranging efforts. It has been proactively attracting non-locally trained healthcare professionals to practise in Hong Kong. A recent example is the visit by the HA delegation to London in April, where they had constructive discussions with over 500 medical students and practitioners – participating in person and online – about their career prospects in our city. 
     At the same time, the HA is pressing ahead with various initiatives to nurture and retain talent. They include establishing the Hospital Authority Academy to strengthen professional training and development, improving career progression pathways for frontline doctors and nurses, enhancing staff welfare, and extending employment beyond the retirement age.
     The objective of all these measures, I am pleased to note, is to strengthen the HA's valuable human capital – in a supportive environment for healthcare professionals to pursue a fulfilling career in Hong Kong.
     The Hong Kong SAR Government spares no effort to support the HA in driving the sustainable development of public healthcare services. A new funding arrangement of three-year cycles has been implemented since the financial year 2018-19, enabling the HA to plan ahead with a longer timeframe. Timely adjustments are made to the recurrent funding provided for the HA, having regard to factors like population growth, demographic changes, and medical needs of the community.
     In the current financial year 2023-24, which falls within the second three-year cycle of the funding arrangement, the HA is allocated HK$90.9 billion in total for its continued provision of quality public healthcare services.
     Speaking of quality services, a people-oriented approach is at centre stage. Under this approach, the HA has been improving patient experience through various initiatives. They include developing smart hospitals, strengthening hospital infrastructure through holistic Ten-year Hospital Development Plans, and promoting the use of telehealth services among suitable patients.
     Wider adoption of innovation and technology is integral to all these initiatives, as well as to the HA's plan to establish Integrated Neuroscience Centres and Cardiovascular Diseases Centres. With a tiered "hub-and-spoke" referral network, these centres will provide integrated services for patients who require multidisciplinary professional support.
     Ladies and gentlemen, the HA Convention this year will provide an excellent platform for healthcare professionals and stakeholders with different backgrounds to share latest findings, explore new ideas, and promote research collaboration. The various symposiums, masterclasses and presentations alike will make the convention's two-day programme one of the most comprehensive ever.
     I would also like to give a special mention to the annual award ceremony of the HA's Outstanding Staff and Teams as well as Young Achievers. Each and every one of them deserves our commendation for their hard work and tremendous contribution.
     As Hong Kong has resumed full normality after three years of the pandemic, we are more determined than ever to work towards the goal of healthcare sustainability. It is all the more important for us to have occasions like this convention to foster intellectual exchange of insights and experiences.
     On that note, I wish you all an inspiring and fruitful convention. And for our guests and participants coming from around the world, my warmest "Hello" to you too. I am sure you will have a most rewarding stay here in Hong Kong. Thank you very much.

Ends/Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Issued at HKT 10:23