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Review of Hospital Authority

On Tuesday (July 14), the Steering Committee on Review of Hospital Authority (HA) released the report on the first comprehensive review of the HA since its establishment over 20 years ago. When I ran in the Chief Executive election, I had quite a lot of discussions with members of the Election Committee from the medical subsector, and incorporated many of their views in my Manifesto. One paragraph in my Manifesto says, "[We] will embark on an overall review … in accordance with [the HA's] own positioning. The purpose is to ensure that [the HA] is able to provide quality service of the highest standard and comparable effectiveness under the twin-track system." After my election as Chief Executive, I announced in my first Policy Address (2013) the setting up of a steering committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the HA's operation.

Hong Kong's healthcare system is faced with challenges including an ageing population, increased prevalence of chronic diseases and escalating healthcare costs due to advances in medical technology. In light of this new situation, the Committee's report reviews the HA's operation in a comprehensive manner with a view to enhancing its capability to cope with these future challenges.

The Committee made 10 major recommendations, focusing on issues which are of concern to patients, community members and HA staff. These issues include long waiting time, co-ordination problems among hospital clusters, resource allocation, and staffing and training arrangements. To ensure that the HA can actively implement these recommendations, the Government will specially provide it with a total of $1.17 billion in additional funding for three years. Of this amount, $570 million will be used to re-employ suitable retirees of those grades and disciplines which are facing a severe staff shortage problem. A total of $300 million will be used to enhance staff training, especially for clinical staff, through scholarships, staff rotation development programmes and other initiatives. The remaining $300 million will be used as top-up funding for three clusters, namely New Territories West, New Territories East and Kowloon East, to enhance their existing services before the switch to the proposed refined population-based resource allocation model.

It is my vision that no one in Hong Kong will be deprived of healthcare services due to a lack of financial means. I also believe that fairness in the provision of healthcare services is a cornerstone of social stability and cohesion. I hope that this comprehensive review of the HA will help realise my vision as laid down in my Manifesto. You are welcome to express your views so that our healthcare services can continue to improve.

July 17, 2015