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About HKCFP > President’s Message

January 2023

The long awaited Primary Healthcare Blueprint has been released towards the end of December 2022. (Please Click) In this document, the Government formulated the direction of development and strategies for strengthening Hong Kong's primary healthcare system in order to address the many challenges in the wake of an ageing population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and at the same time to further enhance the overall health and quality of life of citizens in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong College of Family Physicians warmly welcomes the proposals and initiatives set out in the Primary Healthcare Blueprint to further strengthen the central role of family doctors in providing “from cradle to grave” quality sustainable primary healthcare to individuals and families in the community.

Professor Lo Chung-mau, speaking as the Secretary for Health, mentioned that Hong Kong needs to introduce a systemic reform of the healthcare system to shift the focus of the present healthcare system from curative treatment to disease prevention, change its emphasis and people's mindset from treatment-oriented to prevention-focused. He reiterated that primary healthcare is the first point of contact for patients and families in a continuous healthcare process. 

It is recognized as the most essential component in a well-functioning healthcare system. The COVID-19 epidemic has further accentuated the importance of a robust community-based primary healthcare system. The Secretary of Health also said that the Blueprint sets out Government’s vision, concrete recommendations and implementation plans, and outlines a strategic roadmap for the future development of primary healthcare in Hong Kong, with a view to providing accessible and coherent healthcare services and establishing a sustainable healthcare system, thereby improving the overall health status of the population.

The Blueprint has put forward five major directions of primary healthcare reform as follows: (1) Develop a community-based primary healthcare system, (2) Strengthen primary healthcare governance, (3) Consolidate primary healthcare resources, (4) Reinforce primary healthcare manpower, (5) Improve data connectivity and health surveillance.

A new statutory body, the Primary Healthcare Commission, is to be established in 2024. (Please Click) It would be responsible for developing district-based healthcare and driving the “family doctor for all” policy in a bid to shift the focus of patient care from treatment towards prevention by increasing public funding. Through coordination and networking, the future healthcare model will provide public access to screening, health planning, community care and individual advice/intervention by a family doctor. This would be achieved through: (1) Consolidation of existing services provided by the Department of Health, (2) Purchased private services, (3) Enhanced training in family medicine, (4) Coordination of community networks, and (5) Better governance including bi-directional referrals between primary and secondary care. Setting up of clinical standards and performance monitoring would be core functions to build public confidence in the purchased or network services. The Primary Care Register for family doctors would be formalised and structured for the general public under a legal framework. Furthermore, through the Electronic Health Record Sharing System and the eHealth App, more initiatives rolled out via digital healthcare would increase connections and networks available within the community. With a mature family doctor system, more subsidised and convenient disease prevention programmes can be initiated to improve public health status.

We look forward to working closely with the Government, the Health Bureau, the Primary Healthcare Commission and the relevant stakeholders to build a future quality primary care healthcare system which can meet the service needs appropriately in a sustainable manner. 

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy Chinese New Year of the Rabbit!

Dr. David V K CHAO

President

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