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The University of Hong Kong

School of Nursing

7th Hong Kong International Nursing Forum

18 December 2017

Remarks by the Secretary for Food and Health

Professor (Peter) Mathieson [President & Vice-Chancellor],

Professor (Gabriel) Leung, [Dean of Medicine],

Professor Lin (Chia-chin), [Professor and Head, School of Nursing],

distinguished guests, friends and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

             Good morning!  It gives me great pleasure to join you all here at the Opening Ceremony of the 7th Hong Kong International Nursing Forum.  First of all, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our distinguished guests, especially those who have travelled to Hong Kong from afar.  I trust that you will enjoy our hospitality and wish you a wonderful stay here. 

2.          With the concerted efforts of the Government and healthcare professionals over the years, 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.   Meanwhile, similar to other advanced economies, Hong Kong is facing a rapidly ageing population.  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. The rising demand for healthcare services and the changing healthcare needs are the drivers for the reform of healthcare policies, models of care delivery, as well as the roles and scopes of practice of individual healthcare professions. 

3.            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.

4.            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. 

5.          The Hong Kong Government regards the HKU School of Nursing our key partner in healthcare service delivery and a vanguard of enhancing training, development, and professionalism of nursing professionals in Hong Kong.  I wish the Faculty continued success in its future endeavors and commend the School for its concerted support and remarkable contributions to the health of the Hong Kong community.

6.          I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the HKU School of Nursing for successfully holding this international event.  This biennial Forum exemplifies a successful collaboration between the nursing academics and clinicians in Hong Kong and those from around the world.  It provides an excellent opportunity for exchange of knowledge and sharing of discoveries in the fields of nursing research, nursing education and clinical practice.

7.          I also notice that a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Southeast and East Asian Nursing Education and Research Network will be signed this morning.  As its name has suggested, the MoA will enhance collaboration in nursing education and research in Southeast Asia and East Asia.  Hong Kong is committed to playing an active role in the enhancement of nursing practice in the relevant regions.

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

9.          Last but not least, I wish the 7th Hong Kong International Nursing Forum every success.  Thank you.