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Medical Society, HKUSU

Medic High Table Dinner

13 October 2017

Speech by

Prof. Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food and Health

Professor (Gabriel) Leung [Dean of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine],
Dr Ho (Pak Leung) [Associate Prof of Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine],
Professor Lin (Chia Chin) [Head of School of Nursing, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine],
Dr (George) Leung [Ag Head of Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology],
Professor Sham (Mai Har) [Program Director of Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences],
Professor Lao (Lixing) [Director of School of Chinese Medicine],
Miss (Nicole) Chan [Chairperson of Executive Committee, Medical Society, HKUSU],

Distinguished guests, Colleagues and Students,

                   I'm most delighted to join you at the Medic High Table Dinner tonight. I always enjoy conversing with students in the health disciplines as it reminds me of my memorable days when I was the Head of the Nursing Department of the Hong Kong University.

I joined HKU in 1995 and have worked under 4 VCs and 5 Deans (SP, GT, LAM, RL, SP LEE) + many many good colleagues.  Double happiness : coming back to HKU Medical Faculty + spending time with students.  Nothing is happier than seeing my students graduate.

Congratulate all the freshmen in selecting HKU and have a new chapter of life.

2.                Studying health disciplines is a long term commitment.  The intensive studies and internship training are the initial milestones we need to go through in order to become qualified healthcare professionals.  Those who would like to become specialists in your particular disciplines would need to take another few years for the postgraduate specialist training.  Having gone though all these stages myself, I would say that the key to overcome these challenges is hard work, hard work and hard work, for me anyway!.  Pursuing healthcare professions requires incessant efforts both on education and training.

3.                My young friends, there is no need to think too much about whether your investment in studying will result in a good return. I have continuously equipped myself with knowledge and I could tell you that once you have put in an effort and invest in knowledge, you would always be strengthened.  If you can afford to, do go abroad to see the world.  This will help you broaden your vision in life and your future endeavors.

4.                Besides staying hardworking, it would also be significant for healthcare professionals to possess a strong sense of responsibility.  There is no doubt that the community acknowledges and regards healthcare professionals as highly respected professionals.  At the same time, such respect and recognition carries with it high expectation and responsibility.  The community looks up on healthcare professionals who are restoring people's health. With such great responsibility upon us, we shall put patients' interest before ours.  We need to ensure that we are competent in what we profess.  We should also remember that we are treating a whole person, not just the diseases. 

5.                Apart from the very important personal attributes as a healthcare practitioner, it is also very important for us to understand the latest developments of our healthcare sector.  While Hong Kong is recognized as having one of the most efficient healthcare systems with remarkable life expectancy indices, we are facing increasing challenges including population growth, rapidly ageing population and constant threats of infectious diseases.  The sustainability of our public healthcare system has been called into question.

6.                During the first two months of my office, I visited public hospitals of the seven clusters and noticed that the A&Es and wards were all jam packed with patients. There has been long waiting time for GOPCs and SOPCs.  Workload and pressure on frontline staff are mounting.  There is a dire need to strengthen our public healthcare system.

7.                You may notice that on 11 Oct, the Chief Executive announced the Policy Address which proposes, among other initiatives, that to ensure the long term sustainable development of our healthcare system and safeguard the health of our citizens, the government will actively promote primary healthcare, increase the recurrent funding to HA having regard to population growth, employ all qualified local medical graduates, optimistic public health regulation and plan to implement the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme with tax incentives. 

8.                As key members of the healthcare team, all of us would certainly need to pay attention to how the local healthcare system is evolving.  We all have an important part to play in shaping our own healthcare system and ensuring its healthy and sustainable development.

9.                My young friends, we have all chosen a career which is special, well respected and responsible for handling life and death.  To fulfill that role, we must equip ourselves with the requisite knowledge and skills and seek to constantly update and upgrade ourselves. May you act with integrity and serve with love and dedication. May you have dreams and chase after them with courage and perseverance. Last but not least, may I wish you all the best with your studies.  Thank you!