Hong Kong to increase public healthcare expenses

18:47, October 13, 2010      

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Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang Wednesday pledged to have the public healthcare spending raised to 17 percent of the government's recurrent expenditure by 2012.

When delivering his annual policy address at the Legislative Council on Wednesday, Tsang said the additional resources allocated for the increase of public health expenditure and the enhancement of healthcare services over the past few years reached a total of 13.7 billion HK dollars (about 1.77 billion U.S. dollars).

"We will endeavor to reduce the waiting time for specialist services, including cataract surgery, joint replacement, mental health assessment and consultation services for children and adolescents, magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography scanning. We will also strengthen the services for cancer patients, and add more new and effective drugs to the Drug Formulary," he said.

In addition, Hong Kong is actively preparing for the establishment of a multi-partite paediatric medical center with more than 400 beds at the Kai Tak Development Area in Kowloon.

To further the healthcare reform, the Food and Health Bureau of Hong Kong has put forward proposals for a voluntary Health Protection Scheme in the second stage public consultation just launched.

The objective of the scheme is to provide the public with wider choices and better protection through government-regulated private health insurance and healthcare services.

The government will consider using the 50 billion HK dollars earmarked for supporting healthcare reform to provide incentives for the public to join the scheme early, and subsidize the future healthcare protection of participants. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.76 HK dollars)

Source: Xinhua


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