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August 2014

Dear Fellows and colleagues,

With the sultry weather upon us and schools having summer breaks, I hope many of you have had a chance to relax or enjoy a summer vacation with your family. Work and pace for the Academy, however, have not slowed down. Besides participating at several local events, I also visited the University of Glasgow and attended a conference held by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow with the Vice-President (Education & Examinations) on behalf of the Academy. The triennial conference, “Advancing Excellence in Healthcare”, provided us the opportunity to meet many renowned experts including an Olympic gold medalist, and allowed us the chance for networking and strengthening ties with sister academies and colleges on the other side of the globe.

Collaboration is most important to enhance health education and training. Experts from different sectors and organisations can join force to reach a common goal. As reported in the last issue, we have been working closely with the Chinese University and University Hong Kong, with participation of the Harvard University and other institutions, to develop an operational centre of excellence in disaster preparedness, response, and management in Hong Kong. After months of hard work, I am delighted to report that the Academy has successfully obtained funding from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to establish a “Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute” (HKJCDPRI).

Our densely populated city, located in a region highly susceptible to natural disasters and health crisis, has also an increasing number of potential hazards resulting from mass gatherings being organised for various reasons. The five-year project aims to establish Hong Kong as a regional and international leader in disaster preparedness, response, and management as well as to promote resilience in the community. The HKJCDPRI, to be led and housed under the Academy, will provide training and become a central platform for ongoing professional education, networking, and policy conversations. The official launching ceremony is scheduled to be held on 20 August 2014; organisation work is in full force. Representatives from the World Health Organization, officials from Hong Kong and Mainland China, and world-renowned experts in disaster management will be participating to help us kick off the project. All Fellows are encouraged to attend and cast an eye on the exciting initiatives that your Academy has in the works with the ultimate goal of protecting and saving lives.

As mentioned in my previous messages, the Government believes the Academy, with statutory power to set standard, is the most appropriate body to develop a credentialling system in Hong Kong for patient safety. Our Education Committee has been working hard for some time to come up with a policy paper that would cover a general framework and set standards for credentialling via the 15 specialty Colleges.

Following the recent tragic incident of a patient who died after a four-hour liposuction treatment at a clinic, the Academy has issued a joint statement with the College of Surgeons of Hong Kong, expressing concerns about the practice of doctors and professionals performing potentially ‘high-risk procedures’ that require advanced training and experience. In the press statement, the Academy also reiterated its support for the Government’s move to tighten measures in regulating the procedures performed at private healthcare facilities in Hong Kong.

I was subsequently invited by the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) as Academy’s President to attend a meeting on 14 July 2014. FHB noted that the Academy is developing a credentialling system and requested the Academy to try her best to expedite the process, stating that the Government would show its support when this system is ready for implementation. In the meantime, FHB would let the Legislative Council know that work on credentialling is being carried out and a framework would be introduced as soon as possible to protect the health and wellbeing of the public.

The Working Group formed under the Education Committee, with representatives from some Colleges, Hospital Authority and Hong Kong Association of Private Hospitals, will continue to discuss the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the credentialling process. It is proposed that the Academy’s core role would be to set standards for credentialling via its specialty Colleges, by building on the existing CME/CPD system. And it is agreed that regulation and enforcement would need to be carried out by the Department of Health or the Medical and Dental Councils.

Another Working Group, also under the Education Committee, has been formed to enrich the content of the Academy’s iCMECPD, a website with online service started in 2006 that allows Fellows a paperless means to do CMECPD and keep records efficiently. The Academy’s official website, launched since 2000, has also been revitalised with a facelift. The design is more contemporary and the functions, hopefully, more user-friendly.

We have continued to follow-up on projects started last year for the upkeep of the 15-year-old Academy building. Some maintenance and repair works are inevitable to provide a comfortable and safe environment for the many events and activities that are held here. Our building is becoming increasingly popular as a place that could accommodate meetings of all sizes within and outside our profession. The Council and House Committee, advised by experts, will continue to look after this valuable asset for the Academy.

Dr Donald Li

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