Topics: Health care, Public health, Medicine Pages: 12 (2742 words) Published: September 27, 2014





Hong Kong government has set up Hospital Authority (H. A.) in 1990, which is responsible for management of Hong Kong healthcare system, facilities and implementation of policy. Other than the Department of Health (D. H.) of the government, H. A. becomes the main organization responsible for the healthcare systems in Hong Kong. Since the establishment of H. A., debates on the healthcare policies carried out by H. A. have never been stopped. There are pros and cons from those policies, and people still want to change them by different ways, to gain more benefits, no matter how many people are already with benefits of the policies. Although H. A. had already overcome many challenges and pressures from the government and the public, the basic direction of healthcare policies has not made much change.

Foreseeing growing ageing population in the twenty-one century, and the growing financial deficit of H. A. due to current healthcare delivery model, the Hong Kong government finally asked consultation from the Harvard University in U. S. A.. Then the Health and Welfare Bureau of the Hong Kong Government made a detail planning about healthcare policy for the future. However, could the problems within the concurrent healthcare systems in Hong Kong really be solved?

Current Healthcare Policies and Systems in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government stated that the setting of healthcare policies and direction was based on the health belief of the World Health Organization (W. H. O.) (Health Care Reform Unit, 2001), i.e. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (W. H.O., 1948). Based on this direction, the Hong Kong government had done a lot to meet the increasing demand of the public from decades, since the development of society and economics in 1960’s. Until now, the healthcare system in Hong Kong has a relatively complete structure and provides many facilities for the public. However, as stated in the introduction, debates keep going on all the time, no matter the system is improving. It means there are still many problems the government should pay attention to and encounter. So, what does the current healthcare system do well for us? And what should be improved still?

Achievements/Strengths of Current Hong Kong Healthcare System

1. Establishment of Hospital Authority (H. A.)

Before 1990, hospitals in Hong Kong are in different natures: government-owned, organization-owned and supported by government in some way financially, and private hospitals. Due to the different nature, management methods and financial status of the hospitals, quality of healthcare services provided would be in great variation as expected. Establishment of H. A. aims to manage these hospitals at once and standardizes the quality, quantity, expenses and staff, etc. of these healthcare services provided. This step made great changes on Hong Kong healthcare services and the overall effectiveness and satisfaction of public got significant improvement compared to the non-H. A. years.

2. Public equity to access healthcare service

Healthcare system in Hong Kong is accessible by everybody, no matter the user is citizen or not, and regardless of the financial condition. Public hospitals would always provide services before the user pay the fee. On the other hand, healthcare facilities are quite equally distributed in the whole area of Hong Kong. Therefore public would have less difficulties in traveling to the facilities to seek help when they are in needed (the Harvard team, 1999). From the above, it could be known that the public has equity to use the healthcare...

References: Baum, F. (2002). The New Public Health (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press: Australia.
Herdman, E. (2002). ‘Lifelong investment in health: The discursive construction of “problems” in the Hong Kong health policy’, Health Policy and Planning, 17(2): 161-166.
Hsiao, W., Yip, W. et al. (the Harvard Team), (1999). Harvard Report. Harvard School of Public Health: Hong Kong.
Health Care Reform Unit, (2001). Lifelong Investment In Health. Health & Welfare Bureau, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: Hong Kong.
Salter, B. (1998). The Politics of Change in the Health Service. London, Macmillan. Cited in Herdman, E. (2002). ‘Lifelong investment in health: The discursive construction of “problems” in the Hong Kong health policy’, Health Policy and Planning, 17(2): 161-166.

Salter, B. (1999). Change in the governance of medicine: the politics of self-regulation. Policy and Politics, 27:144-145. Cited in Herdman, E. (2002). ‘Lifelong investment in health: The discursive construction of “problems” in the Hong Kong health policy’, Health Policy and Planning, 17(2): 161-166.
World Health Organization (1948). Definition of Health. Available at:
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