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HKCFP 40th Anniversary Conference 2017

SFH’s Speech for the Opening Ceremony

2 September 2017

Prof Amanda HOWE (President, the World Organization of Family Doctors, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia),
Dr Donald LI (President Elect, the World Organization of Family Doctors, Immediate Past President, Hong Kong Academy of Medicine),
Prof Joseph J Y SUNG (Vice-Chancellor / President and Mok Hing Yiu Professor of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong),
Prof ZHU Shan Zhu (Chairman, Cross-Straits Medicine Exchange Association; Professor and Director, General Practice Faculty of Shanghai Medical Institute Fudan University),
Prof YU Xiao Song (Director, Department of General Practice in the First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University; Vice-president, China Medical University; Chairman-elect, The Society of General Practice, Chinese Medicine Association),
Prof GUO Ai Min (Vice-President, Chinese Medical Doctor Association – Branch of General Practitioner; Vice-Chairman, Beijing Medical Association; Member, Chinese Medical Association),

                   Good afternoon.  It is my great pleasure to join you at The Hong Kong College of Family Physicians 40th Anniversary Conference “From Seedling to Forest – Ever Enriching Primary Care”.

2.                Over the last four decades, the College has matured to become one of the most important stakeholders in the development of family medicine and primary health care in Hong Kong.  During the past 40 years, the College has provided a wide range of educational activities and well-structured programmes and examinations which uphold the professional standards in the study of family medicine.  It has also trained generations of compassionate, committed, and knowledgeable family physicians, who have served the community in numerous ways.  Without the dedication and hard work of the Hong Kong College of Family Physicians, we could not have established a pool of high-quality family physicians for Hong Kong.

3.                Health is the most important asset for a city’s sustainable development.  Hong Kong people enjoy a long life expectancy, with an average of 81 years and 87 years for men and women respectively.  This represents an increase of eight years compared with 30 years ago.  It is estimated that by 2041, Hong Kong’s population will reach 8.5 million, with persons aged 65 or above accounting for 30% of the total population.  Our rapidly ageing population has already given rise to rapid upsurge of healthcare needs in recent years and it will certainly be more severe in the coming years.

4.                In the face of these challenges, Hong Kong needs a balanced approach in ensuring the quality, access and sustainability of our healthcare services to the public.  On the one hand, we have rolled out a 10-year hospital development plan to strengthen our hospital and primary health care facilities.  On the other hand, we have also introduced a series of measures to strengthen primary health care.  Being the first level of health care, primary health care is the first point of contact for most people in a healthcare process.  Primary health care providers are ideally positioned to support and empower individuals and families in control of their health.  The provision of continuing, preventive, comprehensive and patient-centred health care requires the collaboration of various healthcare providers.     

5.                The Department of Health together with different expert groups has developed reference frameworks for the management of major chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.  Reference Frameworks for primary and preventive care for different population groups have also been published.  These frameworks aim at providing common reference for healthcare professionals, transfer evidence-based knowledge into actions for better quality and safety of care, and raise public awareness of the proper prevention and management of chronic diseases.

6.                Recently, we have also rolled out the General Outpatient Clinic Public-Private Partnership Programme in various districts to further promote the adoption of reference frameworks amongst community based family physicians.  Under this programme, patients with chronic diseases who are in stable clinical conditions attending regular follow-up in HA GOPCs may be arranged to receive primary health care services from participating private medical practitioners.  The family doctors participating in the programme could then refer to the reference frameworks in taking care of the participating patients.  This programme not only promotes shared care between the public and private sectors but also enhances the uptake of the reference frameworks amongst participating family physicians.

7.                To further promote integration of the public and private medical sectors, in March this year, the Government launched the Electronic Health Record System, which is an essential infrastructure for health record sharing between public and private healthcare providers.  The system will enhance continuity of care for patients and efficiency of healthcare by setting up an interface between the public and private medical sectors.

8.                What’s more, the government is exploring proposals to enhance cross-sectoral, multi-disciplinary collaboration in the provision of primary health care and leverage on the expertise and connection of the community.  We look forward to the continuing support and valuable views from various stakeholders in our development of primary health care in Hong Kong.

9.                On this joyful occasion of its 40th anniversary, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to The Hong Kong College of Family Physicians on its major progress and important achievements in the development and promotion of family medicine in Hong Kong, and wish it success in the many years to come.  

10.              Lastly, I believe that all of you are aware of the establishment of the new government term on 1 July 2017.  As the Secretary for Food and Health, to safeguard public health, provide quality medical services, ensure food safety and environmental hygiene as well as assisting the sustainable development of fishery and agriculture will be top priorities on my agenda.  My team and I will continue to work hard for the betterment of Hong Kong. Thank you.