Regulation of Private Healthcare Facilities
Private healthcare institutions, namely private hospitals, nursing homes, maternity homes as well as non-profit-making medical clinics are regulated under the Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Maternity Homes Registration Ordinance (Cap. 165) and the Medical Clinics Ordinance (Cap. 343) respectively. Under Cap. 165 and Cap. 343, the Department of Health (DH) registers private healthcare institutions subject to conditions relating to accommodation, staffing and equipment, and inspects the registered institutions.
In 2012, the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) commenced a review on Cap. 165 and Cap. 343, primarily with an aim to strengthen the regulatory control of private hospitals and other private healthcare facilities, to enhance the safety, transparency and quality of private healthcare services and better protect consumer rights. An improved regulatory regime would provide greater assurance to those who prefer and could afford to use private healthcare services, and help enhance the long-term sustainability of our healthcare system.
FHB established the Steering Committee on Review of the Regulation of Private Healthcare Facilities to conduct the review on Cap. 165 and Cap. 343. The Steering Committee has put forward recommendations on the regulatory approach and scheme for private healthcare facilities, taking into account views from various sectors of society. FHB has reviewed the scope of regulation of private healthcare facilities, including whether to cover private healthcare facilities other than private hospitals, nursing homes and non-profit-making medical clinics in the regulatory regime, and also whether to place any premises which conduct high-risk medical treatments/procedures under regulatory control.
In December 2014, FHB conducted a three-month public consultation on the regulation of private healthcare facilities. We proposed that under the new regulatory regime, three categories of facilities (hospitals, facilities providing high-risk medical procedures in ambulatory setting and facilities providing medical services under the management of incorporated bodies) should be regulated. We also consulted the public on the proposed 19 regulatory aspects and their applicability under the revamped regulatory regime, as well as the proposed powers to be conferred on the regulatory authority. Details of the consultation can be found in the Consultation Document. FHB has analysed the views received during the consultation period and has published the Consultation Report.
In June 2017, the Private Healthcare Facilities Bill was introduced into the Legislative Council, and was passed by the Legislative Council on 15 November 2018. The Private Healthcare Facilities Ordinance has been gazetted on 30 November 2018.
For latest information of the new regulatory regime including its implementation arrangement and relevant regulatory standards, please visit the website of the Department of Health’s Office for Regulation of Private Healthcare Facilities.