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Opening Remarks by SFH at

the Naming Ceremony – Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation

Nursing Clinical Skills Laboratory and Simulation Training Centre

to be held on 23 November 2017

Prof LIN (Chia-chin) Head, School of Nursing, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU, Prof Gabriel LEUNG Dean, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU,  Dr Walton Li (Wai-tat) Chairperson, Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation, distinguished guests, colleagues and friends, ladies and gentlemen,

                        Good morning.  It gives me great pleasure joining all of you at the Naming Ceremony of the Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Nursing Clinical Skills Laboratory and Simulation Training Centre.

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.

3.                Nevertheless, our healthcare system is facing many challenges.  Similar to other advanced economies, 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 has given rise to an escalating demand for healthcare services. 

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.  As at end of 2016, there were about    52 400 nurses who constituted over half of the healthcare workforce in Hong Kong.  To strengthen our healthcare manpower, the Government will consider further increasing the number of UGC-funded healthcare training places for nurses and other disciplines (including doctors, dentists, and relevant allied health professionals) which will still be facing manpower shortage in the medium to long term in the 2019/20 – 2021/22 triennium. We will also continue working closely with educational institutions to ensure delivery of quality education and clinical training for our nurses. 

6.                     In addition, the Hospital Authority will set up more nurse clinics and enhance the services of the existing ones in particular in urology and rheumatology, and expand perioperative nurse clinics so as to facilitate patients’ early access to treatment and continuity of care.  The proposed improved service model through nurse clinics is a patient-centred model which focuses on the needs of individual in the continuum of specialist care, and puts emphasis on access and effective intervention of problems in a timely manner.  Nurses, doctors and allied health professions such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and pharmacists will deliver care to patients under multi-disciplinary teams.

7.                     The Government recognises the pivotal role played by nurses in revitalising healthcare systems through advanced nursing practice and enhanced clinical specialties.  Specialisation is a key milestone in the increasing professionalisation of nursing.  I am very happy to see that we are making progress on specialisation of nursing practice vide the task force set up by the Food and Health Bureau to map out the way forward with the ultimate goal of putting in place a legal framework on nursing specialization in the long run.  This will certainly benefit our healthcare system with more skilled and experienced nurses to serve our patients in different areas.

8.                     Our strong and professional nursing community is built up on years of rigorous training, continuous specialised education, and self-betterment.  I am delighted that the Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation has provided staunch support and generous donation for the advanced training in clinical nursing education.  Looking ahead, we will continue to count on our nursing community and dedicated institutions like The University of Hong Kong School of Nursing to work together for the future overall wellness of the city by taking forward the healthcare initiatives in the pipeline. 

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.