Hong Kong greenlights health reform

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food & Health, Dr. York Chow, said the autonomous region would set up groups to evaluate health reforms: namely an amended public health protection scheme. His announcement marked the end of a lengthy consulting process that evaluated over 500 submissions on the state of Hong Kong’s health system.

It resulted in the following “three-pronged” action plan:

  • A “working group” will evaluate legislation aimed at improving competition and transparency in Hong Kong’s health market.
  • A high-level steering committee will asses manpower and professional development in the health sector.
  • The government will buy land for new hospitals, purchase private sector services for use in the public health system and improve health infrastructure.

Said Chow

We plan to complete the aforementioned preparatory works by the first half of 2013. We will then proceed to actual implementation of the proposals on healthcare manpower planning and professional development and those concerning the Healthcare Protection Scheme, including introduction of the necessary legislative proposals.

He emphasized that the ultimate goal was to complement and improve Hong Kong’s public health system, not privatize it. The public health system is to remain the cornerstone of healthcare in Hong Kong, Chow said. The government will spend some HKD39 billion on healthcare from 2011-2012, 16.5% of total government expenditure.