Message from the President, Prof. Raymond Liang, April 2011
The Government’s Budget this year has drawn a lot of attention. While most people may just focus on how the $6000 is distributed, the medical profession is naturally paying more attention to the expected government expenditure on medical and health care. The SAR Government has previously pledged an increase of health expenditure to 17 per cent of the recurrent government spending by 2012. I am glad to see that the figure this year is 16.5%. This amounts to a total sum of $39.9 billion, more than $3 billion over last year. It is good to have that extra amount of money. Equally important, I believe, is how the money is going to be spent, wisely and strategically.
The Government launched the Elderly Health Care Scheme in 2009. The Scheme offers health care vouchers to elderly citizens to subsidise private primary care services. The scheme is now extended for another three years with the value of the vouchers doubled. We all appreciate the importance of quality primary care. I am looking forward to seeing the primary care services to be further supported and developed.
Additional funding will go to the Hospital Authority to support new projects, aiming to benefit patients with mental illness, chronic disease or terminal cancer and end-stage organ failure. Additional money will also go to the Drug Formulary supporting effective new treatments. Successful implementation of these initiatives no doubt requires adequate medical and nursing manpower. The Government must provide a good steady supply of well-trained doctors and nurses in the years to come. The Academy and the Colleges are entrusted to ensure our medical specialists practising in Hong Kong are of the highest possible quality.
It is clear from studies that increasing tobacco duty is an effective means of tobacco control. While the Academy is supporting anti-smoking without reservation, I welcome the move by the Government to increase the duty on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Academic research is always an important key to quality medical services. I am glad to see the Government committing fund to set up the new “Health Research Fund”. It is a good sum of $1 billion dollars injecting into this new Fund and is certainly a very good start. This will be complimentary to the funding of Research Grants Council. I hope it will help to generate and support quality research projects from all sectors and foster collaborations.
It is our wish to have a medical and health service in Hong Kong excellent in both quantity and quality.
Professor Raymond Liang