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December 2016

Dear Fellows and colleagues,

As I write this President’s Message for the last issue of the year, my second term of office as President will be coming to a close in a few weeks’ time. It has been an extraordinary privilege to be your President over the past four years. It has been an amazing journey for me. I encountered challenges but there were moments of joy and satisfaction that I will remember and carry with me as I move on to a new journey in the years ahead.

I feel very honoured to have the opportunity to work with many extraordinary people in serving the Academy and our Fellows. I wish to thank my Officers, members of our Council and Committees, College Presidents and representatives as well as the staff of the Academy for their unfailing support and efforts. My gratitude also goes to all our Fellows especially those who have contributed their time and expertise generously to the Academy. I have learnt from the best, and gained much knowledge from my peers.

I would like to highlight some of the achievements of the Academy during my presidency. We established the Hong Kong Jockey Club Innovative Learning Centre for Medicine (HKJC ILCM) in 2013 and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Disaster Preparedness and Response Institute (HKJC DPRI) in 2014. We also upgraded the information technology system and launched our iCMECPD mobile applications. Moreover, various renovation projects for the Academy building and its facilities were completed.

It is most gratifying that we have enhanced relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), which has provided support to our work on disaster preparedness and response. Our HKAM / DPRI delegation has visited the WHO offices, including the Headquarters in Geneva, Regional Office for the Western Pacific and Representative Office in China, strengthening our connection and collaboration with the WHO.

We were delighted that the HKJC DPRI was invited to co-organise and host the WHO Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) Global Meeting at our Academy building on 28-30 November 2016. It was our privilege that Minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the PRC (NHFPC) Ms Li Bin and Chief Executive of the Government of the HKSAR The Honourable CY Leung also attended to officiate the opening ceremony. The Global Meeting, gathering different stakeholders of the EMT Initiative, generated fruitful discussions in a number of issues about EMT development.

Many prominent events are now held at the Academy building every year, including some large-scale international scientific meetings. The Academy has also been organising regular conferences for the exchange of experience and sharing of knowledge. Following the success of our first Annual Conference on Disaster Preparedness and Response last year, this year’s Conference, titled ‘Building a Resilient Health System’, was held on 8 October and attracted over 320 local and overseas participants.

Ensuring patient safety is a core mission of the Academy. We partner with government departments and medical organisations to promote safe and quality patient care. The Academy has been working with the Department of Health and Hospital Authority in developing credentialling policies as well as setting guidelines for high-risk or complex procedures. Furthermore, we initiated the establishment of the Hong Kong Simulation Alliance with six other Hong Kong organisations in 2013 promoting scenario-based simulation training in a multi- discipline and multi-sectoral context. With the support of the Center for Medical Simulation in Boston of the United States, the HKJC ILCM has organised various simulation training courses.

In 2015, we were invited to join the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) as a Partner Organisation, following our regular communication with the General Medical Council. The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine is IAMRA’s Partner in Hong Kong. Working together we will continue to carry out our mission to foster safe and better medical care in Hong Kong.

We have maintained a close tie with the NHFPC, formerly known as the Ministry of Health. We entered into a new Memorandum of Understanding on Standardisation of General/Specialist Medical Training in October 2015. We also visited the NHFPC office based in Beijing and also the Health and Family Planning Commission of Sichuan Province to meet with their officials and establish closer collaboration in disaster preparedness and response work. The discussions included the standardisation and certification of emergency medical teams for disasters in China, and training of emergency medical teams in Hong Kong.

I engaged in a number of international networking activities over the past four years, which included participating in academic conferences jointly organised by the Academy and other institutions in Hong Kong and overseas, such as Harvard University, University of Glasgow, The University of Manchester, and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

We are also privileged to have many renowned guests visiting the Academy and delivering lectures as our guest speakers, such as Dr Julio Frenk, the then Dean of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Dr Atul Gawande, Executive Director of Ariadne Labs, and a renowned surgeon and writer; and Dr Lincoln Chen, President of China Medical Board, to name a few.

Apart from these events, the Academy also signed and renewed Memoranda of Understanding for continual cooperation with authorities and organisations, such as the two sister academies of Malaysia and Singapore, Health Bureau of the Macau SAR Government and Hong Kong Police Force. These collaborative projects enable knowledge sharing, training, research, and issues related to the accreditation of medical specialists and enhance the prominence of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine locally and internationally.

During the past summer, whilst trying hard to defend the Academy’s position in the Medical council to enable our carrying out our statutory role and responsibility during debate over the proposed amendments to the Medical Registration Ordinance (MRO), our Council met with criticism from some Fellows who were aggrieved with our support of the Government’s amendment. An extraordinary general meeting was held whereby the Academy’s position was clarified and a promise was made to survey Fellow’s opinion when the MRO discussion resumes. The experience is a good reminder of the changing times we are facing and different values Fellows possess nowadays.

There are costs and risks to a program of action but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.

John F. Kennedy

The sudden change in indemnity policy of the Medical Protection Society towards obstetricians was a wake-up call to our Fellows. The profession needs to proactively look for competitive indemnity insurance to avoid such threats being posed to other specialties. The Academy continues to work with private hospitals to look for a realistic solution.

In 1380, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “All good things must come to an end.” In the next term, Prof CS Lau will succeed me to be the President of the Academy, and we will also have some new Officers joining us.

I urge all of you to render the same support to our new President and Officers.

May I wish you a joyful Christmas season, and a prosperous new year ahead.

Dr Donald Li
1 December 2016

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