As you may know, I’m usually called upon to talk about the financial health of Hong Kong. As Financial Secretary, while I am committed to safeguarding Hong Kong’s financial stability and fiscal health, I am equally devoted to further enhancing the health of Hong Kong people and ensuring that our healthcare system is sustainable in the long term.
Health is one of our key policy areas and has been a major outlay of government expenditure. In my Budget delivered about two months ago, I have proposed to further increase the allocation for healthcare this year by 13.3% to $71.2 billion, bringing the share of healthcare expenditure up to 17.5% of our total recurrent expenditure.
The additional resources will be used to boost the number of public hospital beds and augment operating theatre sessions and the service quota for outpatient clinics, as well as to strengthen manpower and professional training. We will also be enhancing our services for cancer screening, mental health, dental care and Chinese medicine.
Long-term planning is essential in sustaining the quality of our health services. The Hospital Authority and the Government are pressing ahead with the $200 billion 10-year hospital development plan. I have further earmarked another $300 billion in this year’s Budget for implementing the second 10-year hospital development plan, and improving clinic facilities and healthcare teaching facilities. And to ensure the rising medical needs of our community continue to be met, we will also further increase the number of publicly funded training places for doctors, dentists, nurses and relevant allied healthcare professionals.
Hong Kong, like many other advanced economies in the world, is facing the daunting challenges of an ageing population and the prevalence of chronic diseases and increasingly drug-resistant communicable diseases.
Primary healthcare, which focuses on health promotion, disease prevention and chronic care will be central in tackling these challenges. The Government is currently reviewing the service with a view to drawing up a blueprint for the service, for the sustainable development of primary healthcare services in Hong Kong.
Therefore, this year’s convention, with primary healthcare and chronic diseases management as its key topic, is a fitting opportunity for the local and overseas experts and practitioners to share their experiences and insights, and to promote the best practices in primary healthcare.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the healthcare professionals and colleagues of the Hospital Authority, for their unwavering dedication and commitment in serving the people of Hong Kong.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan gave these remarks at the Hospital Authority Convention 2018 opening ceremony on May 7.