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About HKCFP > President’s Message

February 2021

The new temporary hospital, North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre, is located on Lantau Island, next to AsiaWorld-Expo where a community treatment facility has been set up. The centre comprises six blocks of wards with over 800 isolation beds and a medical centre with a laboratory and a pharmacy on site. There are negative pressure wards designed with reference to the standards of tier-1 isolation wards. It is planned to be put into service by end of this month taking care of COVID-19 patients with milder symptoms, and sharing the burden of public hospitals amid the pandemic as well as raising the coronavirus testing capacity in Hong Kong.

With the building up to the launching of the government’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, the Programme website has been regularly updated with the relevant information including the Programme Overview, information about the Vaccines to be purchased by the government (including their benefits and protection, regulatory framework, dosages and possible side effects) and the related Expert Opinions. There is also a set of FAQs which are both quite useful and timely. The Programme website also encompasses links to Electronic Vaccination and Testing Record System, eHealth, Education and Media Resources.

There is the Healthcare Professional Corner providing useful and updated Interim Guidelines on Key Elements on Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings, and Interim Recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals/clinics under Serious/ Emergency Response Level (COVID-19), as well as the package insert of COMIRNATYTM COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine (BNT162b2). The website can be accessed via this link: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/vaccine.

Globally speaking, smoking or tobacco abuse is the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality. However, sources say that alarmingly over 60% of daily smokers in Hong Kong have not tried nor are willing to kick the habit. The Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office together with the University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine (School of Nursing and School of Public Health) have recently launched an online self-directed training set (https://vba.livetobaccofree.hk/en/index.html) to assist and equip healthcare professionals in delivering a very brief advice on smoking cessation to the people in the community. The effectiveness of the very brief smoking cessation advice in motivating smokers to quit has been proven by research findings and it literally takes less than a minute to conduct. As family doctors, we should try our best to engage our patients to quit, especially those who are already suffering from chronic illnesses.

HKCFP sets the standard and is responsible for training high quality family doctors in Hong Kong. With reference to the Policy Address and the Budget Consultation for Medical Sector delivered earlier, I recently wrote to reiterate that Family Physicians are the first point of health contact for people in the community and can enhance the efficacy and efficiency in the utilisation of healthcare resources by playing the gatekeeping and healthcare navigator role. Therefore, with the ageing population and the escalating number of people with chronic diseases, more well-trained family doctors are needed in Hong Kong. It has been well demonstrated that Family Physicians have helped to screen and manage the people in the community, thus relieving the burden of the hospitals since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (https://doi.org/10.12809/hkmj208606). By conservative estimation based on international and Mainland’s benchmarking, Hong Kong needs to train at least 100 Family Physicians per year, but the current number falls very short of that magic figure. With the ongoing support of the government in further enhancing the primary care development in Hong Kong, a strategic manpower planning by allocating ring-fenced resources to increase the number of training posts to Family Medicine is essential to ensure a sustainable healthcare system in Hong Kong in the long run.

Wishing you all a very healthy and prosperous Year of the OX ahead! 

Please keep well and stay safe.

Dr. David V K CHAO
President


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