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Opening remarks by SFH at press conference on release of Report of the Steering Committee on Review of Hospital Authority

Following is the opening remarks by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, at a press conference on the release of the Report of the Steering Committee on Review of Hospital Authority held today (July 14):

Following the completion of a two-year review, the Steering Committee on Review of Hospital Authority (HA) releases its review report today. This is the first comprehensive review conducted by the Government since the establishment of the HA more than 20 years ago.

In the face of the challenges of ageing population, increased prevalence of chronic illness and increasing healthcare costs due to advances in medical technology, the Chief Executive announced in his 2013 Policy Address the establishment of the Steering Committee to conduct a comprehensive review of the operation of the HA and to explore viable measures for enhancing the cost-effectiveness and quality of HA services.

The Government hopes that ways could be identified to further improve the service and operation of the HA. As far as patients are concerned, we hope that they could enjoy better services with shorter waiting time and they could see a more consistent service provision among clusters and an enhanced level of safety and quality of services. As for HA staff, we hope to enhance fairness and transparency in resource allocation and staff management practices and provide them with better training and development opportunities.

The Steering Committee has made a total of 10 major recommendations. I would just highlight some of them.

The Steering Committee recommends that the HA Board should play a more active role in leading and managing the HA. As far as delineation of cluster boundaries is concerned, particularly those of the Kowloon clusters, this should be refined.

On resource management, the HA should adopt a refined population-based resource allocation model. Under the proposed model, resources will be allocated on the basis of the population of the areas served by the clusters, with additional resources allocated according to the tertiary and quaternary healthcare services provided by individual clusters.

On staff management, we hope that HA Head Office should enhance its coordinating role to ensure greater consistency, fairness and parity in human resources management and practices in and between the clusters. The Steering Committee is particularly concerned with the important mission of the HA in training and developing future generations of healthcare professionals in Hong Kong, and it recommends that a high-level central training committee should be set up under the HA Board to set the overall training policy and direction.

The Steering Committee is very concerned about the long waiting time for public healthcare services, it recommends that the HA should implement a comprehensive plan to shorten waiting time for specialist outpatient clinics and accident and emergency services. We also hope that the HA could put in place an effective mechanism to ensure that patients' feedbacks are taken into account for service planning and improvement.

The HA should strengthen the roles of Coordinating Committees on clinical governance, including the development of clinical practice guidelines, services standards, introduction of new technology and service development plan, etc.

As far as the next step is concerned, to ensure timely implementation of the recommendations above, the HA will prepare an action plan within a period of three months with a view to implementing the recommendations within three years. During the period, the HA will report the progress to the Food and Health Bureau.

Ends/Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:41