Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is expected to unveil new measures to enhance healthcare services in her first policy address scheduled for Wednesday, according to sources.
A commission will be formed to take charge of primary care, which Lam promised to improve in her election platform. Hundreds of beds will be added in public hospitals for the first time in 10 years, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Sources said the commission, whose main responsibility is to coordinate various primary care policies, will be led by the Food and Health Bureau.
It will include members from the Department of Health, the Social Welfare Department and the Hospital Authority.
To strengthen community healthcare networks, the commission is expected to launch multiple measures in cooperation with the government and communities.
These include establishing community nurse clinics, sending paramedics to conduct physical checkups for the elderly in residential care homes and setting up wards at the homes to keep the elderly from frequenting hospitals.
Dr. Chui Tak-yi, acting secretary for food and health, said primary care is one of the areas that Lam had pledged to focus on during her election campaign, adding that developing primary care involves a review of past services.
However, Professor Joseph Lee Kok-long, who chairs Legco’s health services panel, called the commission “old wine in a new bottle”.
The commission may end up being too focused on primary care at the expense of health management and disease prevention, Lee said.
Meanwhile, several political parties rallied at the Central Government Offices in Admiralty on Sunday to express their demands for more policies that can benefit the public.
More than 10 members from the Democratic Party asked the government to set up a HK$5 billion seed fund for medical care, step up efforts to prevent diseases, offer monthly bus passes for commuters, build more public homes, lease out Home Ownership Scheme flats with exemptions from paying land premium, among others.
Party chairman Wu Chi-wai urged Lam to consider relaunching political reform, which was voted down by lawmakers in June 2015.
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