Date
21 October 2018
Dr. Lam Ching-choi, chairman of the Elderly Commission, estimated the HK$1 billion fund will be able to operate for two to three years, after which the government will inject more money into it to sustain its operation. Photo: Bloomberg/HKEJ
Dr. Lam Ching-choi, chairman of the Elderly Commission, estimated the HK$1 billion fund will be able to operate for two to three years, after which the government will inject more money into it to sustain its operation. Photo: Bloomberg/HKEJ

Govt set to launch fund next month to promote gerontechnology

Dr. Lam Ching-choi, chairman of the Elderly Commission, said the government will set up a fund as soon as November that will allow elderly service units to procure technology products for their residents, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

In her policy address delivered in October last year, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor promised HK$1 billion will be earmarked for the establishment of the so-called gerontechnology fund in order improve the quality of life of elderly people, enhance the quality of services provided to them, and reduce the burden and pressure on their carers.

Earlier this year, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr. Law Chi-kwong estimated that the fund will be launched by the fourth quarter and will benefit more than 1,000 elderly care institutions.

According to Dr. Lam, who is also a non-official member of the Executive Council, about 1,200 residential care homes currently subsidized by the government will each receive between HK$200,000 and HK$900,000 from the gerontechnology fund, which they can use to buy technology products for their residents.

A list of such products has been prepared. They include robotic beds that can transform into electric wheelchairs and robotic arms, Dr. Lam said.

As for technology products that are not on the list, he said there is no upper limit in terms of funding for them but a residential care home must apply for it and get an official approval in advance.

He estimated that the HK$1 billion fund will be able to operate for two to three years, after which the government will inject more money into it to sustain its operation.

Dr. Lam, a pediatric specialist by profession, said the government also has to train as many healthcare professionals as possible to meet the primary care needs of the public.]

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