Legislative Council Panel on Health Services
2017 Policy Address
Policy Initiatives of the Food and Health Bureau
(d) Chinese Medicine
16. The Government has all along been committed to promoting the development of Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. The Chief Executive established the Chinese Medicine Development Committee (“CMDC”) in February 2013 to focus on the study of four major areas, namely the development of Chinese medicine services, personnel training and professional development, research and development as well as development of the Chinese medicines industry (including Chinese medicines testing). The Government has accepted a number of recommendations put forth by the CMDC, including the development of Chinese medicine hospital (“CMH”), development of the integrated Chinese-Western medicine (“ICWM”), the expansion of the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards (“HKCMMS”) Project as well as the setting up of the Government Chinese Medicines Testing Institute. We have been implementing these recommendations in phases.
17. For the development of CMH, the Chief Executive announced in the 2014 Policy Address that the Government had reserved a site in Tseung Kwan O to set up a CMH in Hong Kong. The Government then studied the feasible mode of operation of the CMH in consultation with the CMDC. Since the development of a CMH requires detailed and thorough study and planning, as agreed by the CMDC, the HA launched the ICWM Pilot Project in September 2014 to gather experience in the operation of ICWM and Chinese medicine in-patient services, which will serve as the basis for formulating the mode of operation of a CMH. We will provide funding for the HA to continue to implement and expand the ICWM Pilot Project.
18. As for the development of CMH, we conducted an exercise in January to May 2016 to invite non-binding Express of Interest from non-profit-making organisations interested in developing and operating a CMH on a self-financing basis which would provide ICWM services with Chinese medicine having the predominant role. Apart from providing in-patient and out-patient services to the public, the CMH should also support the teaching, clinical training and scientific research of the higher education institutions in Hong Kong, including the Schools of Chinese medicine under the three universities in Hong Kong, and help strengthen and enhance the quality of the professional training of Chinese medicine practitioners and the scientific research of Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. Feedbacks received from the non-binding EOI exercise indicated that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for non-profit-making organisations to develop the CMH on their own. In this regard, the Chief Executive announced in the 2017 Policy Address the Government’s decision to finance the construction of the CMH and invite HA to assist in identifying by way of tender a suitable non-profit-making organisation to take forward and operate the CMH.
19. On the development of Chinese medicines, the Government has accepted the CMDC’s recommendation which supports the continuation of the HKCMMS Project to study and formulate reference standards for more Chinese herbal medicines; and the consideration of including study on the reference standard for Chinese medicines decoction pieces under the HKCMMS Project, so that HKCMMS can be more widely adopted. Thus far, the HKCMMS Project has completed the compilation of HKCMMS for some 230 Chinese materia medica commonly used in Hong Kong. Our target is to set reference standards for around 28 Chinese materia medica each year. A pilot study has also been launched on the reference standard for Chinese medicines decoction pieces under the HKCMMS Project.
20. The Government is also actively planning on the establishment of the Government Chinese Medicines Testing Institute to be managed by the DH. By employing state-of-the-art technology and through scientific research, a set of internationally-recognised reference standards for Chinese medicines and related products will be developed. The institute will help empower the industry through transfer of technology to strengthen quality control of their products, establish the brand image of Hong Kong in Chinese medicines, and develop Hong Kong into an international hub for scientific research on Chinese medicines testing and quality control. Before the establishment of the permanent Government Chinese Medicines Testing Institute, a temporary one, to be set up at the Science Park, will come into operation in phases starting from the first quarter of this year. The temporary institute will kick start some of the work as soon as possible, including the further development of reference standards for Chinese materia medica and decoction pieces, commencing researches on high-end biological and chemical technologies applicable to Chinese medicines and related products, and preparing for the establishment of a digitalised herbarium on Chinese medicines of international standard.
21. To promote the development of Chinese medical professionals and Chinese medicines, the Government has requested the HA to review the salary level of the Chinese medicine practitioners employed at the Chinese Medicine Centres for Training and Research.
(d) Chinese Medicine
50. We will continue to conduct review of the development of Chinese medical professionals and Chinese medicines through the CMDC to formulate strategies to raise the professional standard and status of Chinese medicine practitioners, support research and development of Chinese medicine, promote treatment with ICWM, expand the role of Chinese medicine in the Hong Kong healthcare system, and examine the feasible mode of operation of the CMH.
51. We will continue to subsidise and monitor the 18 Chinese Medicine Centres for Training and Research to enhance Chinese medicine service in our public healthcare system.