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CNHK Nursing Conference 2018


55th Annual General Meeting

College of Nursing, Hong Kong

Nurses : A Voice to Lead,

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals –

Good Health & Well-being

Opening Remarks by the Secretary for Food and Health

27 January 2018

Ms (Ellen) KU, distinguished guests, friends and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

              Good morning.  It is my great pleasure to be here today at the Opening Ceremony of the Nursing Conference 2018 organised by the College of Nursing, Hong Kong.  The theme of this Conference, “Nurses: A Voice to Lead, Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals- Good Health and Well-being”, is most relevant to us in the midst of the challenges we are facing in our healthcare system.  

 2.       Similar to other advanced economies in the world, the population of Hong Kong is ageing rapidly.  The median age of Hong Kong was increased from 36.8 in 2001 to 41.7 in 2011 and is expected to rise to 45 in 2021.  Life expectancy is on the rise too.  For male, the figure is expected to increase from 78.4 in 2001 to 82.2 in 2021.  For female, the increase will be from 84.6 in 2001 to 88.5 twenty years later.  Reading the two pieces of information together, the demand for healthcare services is clearly on the rise.

3.          The rising demand for healthcare services and the changing healthcare needs from an ageing population 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.  In a word, we need a healthcare system which supports our people to live long and live healthy.

 4.          In face of these challenges, the Government endeavors to ensure the quality and sustainability of Hong Kong’s healthcare services by devoting effort and allocating resources in an efficient and focused manner.  As announced by the Chief Executive in the 2017 Policy Address, we pledge to enhance our public healthcare infrastructure, promote district-level primary healthcare services, enhance public health regulation, promote enhancements in medical technology and proactively support the development of Chinese medicine for better outcomes to our citizens’ health. 

 5.          As far as healthcare manpower is concerned, the Government recognizes nurses as an irreplaceable part of our medical profession.  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.  The Hospital Authority will also 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. 

 6.          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, together with doctors and allied health professions such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and pharmacists are involved in delivering care throughout the patient care journey.

 7.          Equally important, the Government also recognises the pivotal role played by nurses in revitalising healthcare systems through advanced nursing practice and enhanced clinical specialties.  Specialisation in nursing is an important milestone in the professionalisation of the nursing profession.  I am very glad 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 specialisation in the long run.  This will certainly benefit our healthcare system with more skilled and experienced nurses to serve our patients in various specialised areas.

 8.          Ladies and gentlemen, it has taken us years of rigorous training, continuous specialised education, and self-betterment to build up a strong cadre of nursing leaders who are not only well-versed in nursing skills but also capable of charting out improvements of our healthcare delivery through working closely with professionals from various medical disciplines.  In this connection, the College has made substantial contributions to our nursing profession, especially in nurturing nursing leaders and developing continuing professional education for the nursing community. I am confident that with the College’s support, our nurses will continue to strive for clinical excellence and high-quality patient care.  Looking ahead, we will continue to count on our nursing community and dedicated institutions like the College of Nursing, Hong Kong to work together for the 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. 

10.       Last not but least, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to the College of Nursing, Hong Kong on its 55th Anniversary and wish the College continued success in its future endeavors.  To all the Conference participants, I wish you all an inspiring and fruitful exchange.  Thank you.