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About HKCFP > President’s Message

August 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate the headlines as the virus is still rampaging across the world. In Hong Kong, there have been several clusters of local cases emerging in the community yet again over the last few weeks. A recent public health risk assessment revealed that the risk of having a large scale community outbreak is currently at the highest since the emergence of the epidemic in Hong Kong. In response to the new waves of infections, stricter social-distancing measures have been put into effect, including further tightening the number of people gathering in public from four to two, the cessation of dine-in services during specific periods of the day, continuation of closure of scheduled premises, and mandatory wearing of masks in the public space. The public have been requested to stay at home, avoid going/dinning out and unnecessary social activities as much as possible in order to fight the epidemic together.

To tie in with the government’s public health strategy on early detection of infection to minimise the risk of community transmission, the “Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance (ELS) Programme” has been extended progressively over the last few months. Our family doctor colleagues in the private sector have been actively contributing towards the ELS (e.g. Tiers 5 – 7), while those in the public sector are helping with the ELS in the public outpatient settings (e.g. Tiers 1 & 4). 

A recent addition of ELS has been to distribute Deep Throat Saliva (DTS) specimen collection packs to individuals who perceived themselves to have a higher risk of exposure to the COVID-19 infection (Tier7H). People can collect the DTS packs from the 22 designated General Outpatient Clinics (GOPCs) at a specified period of time on a first come first served basis until the daily allocated packs are exhausted.

The sustained silent transmissions in the community have also brought more challenges to our healthcare system. The recent record-breaking daily confirmed infections figures caused a surge in demand for hospital isolation beds and facilities. To speed up the turnover rate of isolation beds in hospitals, Community Isolation Facility (CIF) opening on 24 July, and Community Treatment Facility (CTF) opening on 1 August, have been set up at Lei Yu Mun Park and Village (LYM) and AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) respectively. Hopefully, these will help alleviate the pressure generated by a surge in service demand, and the public hospitals can therefore focus on caring for the more severe affected patients. As frontline clinicians, family doctors are actively involved in both the CIF and the CTF in conjunction with other specialists.

Family doctors are naturally in an advantageous position in the community as we are standing at the first point of contact for people presenting to the healthcare system. Family doctors are trained to provide advice, counselling and support to people especially during challenging times such as the current pandemic. We are more than happy to contribute even more towards the current crisis. Together, we fight the virus!

After thorough consideration on the possible arrangement alternatives, WONCA has made an announcement to postpone the WONCA World Council Meeting and Conference originally planned for coming November in Abu Dhabi to November 2021.

I was greatly shocked and deeply saddened to learn that Dr. Harry Nespolon, the President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), has passed away recently. Dr. Nespolon took office as the President of RACGP in 2018, and he has been a great leader and role model for General Practitioners in Australia and beyond. His many great achievements and contributions towards the discipline and the medical fraternity will be remembered for generations to come. His untimely death is a great loss to all of us. Our most sincere condolences go to Dr. Nespolon’s family and the RACGP. May Dr. Nespolon rest in peace.

The annual HKCFP Trainees Research Fund and Research Seed Fund will be open for applications. The announcements will be posted in the College website and promulgated through the usual College communication channels. The submission deadline falls on 29 October 2020. We very much look forward to receiving your submissions soon.

Just a quick last minute reminder for you to register for the annual Hong Kong Primary Care Conference (HKPCC) entitled, “2020 Vision: Health for All”, to be held online on 12th and 13th September 2020 (Saturday – Sunday).

Please keep well and stay safe!

Dr. David V K CHAO