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Opening Remarks by SFH at

The 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner

School of Nursing of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

19 October 2017

Professor (Timothy) TONG [President of PolyU],
Professor (Alex) MOLASIOTIS [Chair Professor of Nursing and Head],
Professor (Alice) YUEN LOKE [Chairman of the 40th Anniversary Organizing Committee],
distinguished guests and colleagues,
ladies and gentlemen,

                   Good Evening!  It gives me great pleasure to join you all here to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the School of Nursing of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.  Being an pround alumni of the School and was once a faculty member of PolyU, I must say this is double happiness.

2.                Over the past decades, Hong Kong has developed a healthcare system with high efficiency and good quality, which provides accessible and affordable healthcare services to the population.  Our health indicators such as life expectancy and infant mortality rate rank among the best in the world. Under our dual-track system, public healthcare services provide a safety net for all citizens, while the private healthcare sector provides more choices for those who can afford and willing to pay.

3.                In spite of its impressive performance so far, our healthcare system is facing immense challenges.  Hong Kong’s population is ageing fast.  The number of elderly persons will increase from 1.16 million (or 17% of the total population) in 2016 to 2.37 million (or 31% of the total population) in 2036.  Our ageing population will give rise to an escalating demand for healthcare services.  Coupled with this is the rapid development of medical technology and the public’s increasing expectation over the coverage and standard of our healthcare services.  All these have posed substantial challenges to our healthcare professionals.

4.                In face of these challenges, we are strengthening our healthcare facilities to improve access, affordability and quality of our healthcare services.  The Government and the Hospital Authority will press ahead with the delivery of the 10-year Public Hospital Development Plan, for which $200 billion has been earmarked.  The Chief Executive in the 2017 Policy Address has also announced the development of a comprehensive and co-ordinated primary healthcare system which aims to encourage the public to take precautionary measures against diseases, enhance their capability in self-care and home care, and reduce the demand for hospitalisation.

5.                Nurses are the backbones behind all these ongoing and new initiatives. We will continue allocating resources to ensure that our nurses are maintaining top standards and always keep abreast with the latest medical advancement and nursing practices.  We will also continue working closely with educational institutions to ensure delivery of quality education and clinical training for our nurses, while advancing nursing and patient care for the benefit of our community. 

6.                As one of the forerunners in nursing education  in Hong Kong, the PolyU School of Nursing has contributed profoundly to the development of nursing education in Hong Kong.  Right back in 1990, the School started to offer nursing degree programmes for undergraduates to provide comprehensive nursing training to our nursing students in the tertiary education sector.  Three years after, postgraduate programmes were also introduced to deepen and diversify the experience and knowledge of our students. 

7.                On a personal note, I am honoured to be an alumnus of the School of Nursing of the Hong Kong Poly U.  The Post-registration Diploma in Health Care Education (Nursing) Programme has not only equipped me with the knowledge of the key healthcare disciplines but also motivated me to pursue further in the academic path and in the public healthcare sector. 

8.                I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to the PolyU School of Nursing on its 40th Anniversary.  The long list of milestones achievements of the School testifies its relentless efforts in pursuing its mission – “To cultivate world-class visionary scholars and graduates to advance nursing sciences and services, and to anticipate and drive change in addressing the evolving challenges of health.”  I applaud the School on its resounding accomplishments and I wish it continued successes in the many more years to come.  

9.                As the Secretary for Food and Health, to safeguard public health, provide quality medical services, ensure food safety and environmental hygiene will be top priorities on my health agenda.  My team and I will continue to work hard for the betterment of Hong Kong.  Thank you.