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40th Anniversary Celebration
About HKCFP > President’s Message

May 2015

Two most important events of the year are just round the corner. The 5th Hong Kong Primary Care Conference with the main theme “Stay Caring, Go Excelling in Primary Care” is from 30th to 31st May 2015. We are lucky to have three high power plenary lectures, namely “Excellence in Primary Care- Ethical Dilemmas” by Dr Donald Li, “We Need the Family Doctor more than Ever in the Era of Multi-disciplinary Primary Care” by Prof Cindy Lam and “Family Medicine in 2050- a Vision through a Crystal Ball” by Prof Rodger Charlton. Do not miss a single one! The 28th Fellowship Conferment Ceremony and the 26th Dr Sun Yat Sen Oration will happen on 31st May 2015. Do come and celebrate the success of our members and fellows!

The Consultation on Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme has just concluded. I have received lots of feedback from members and fellows and I salute their intelligence. The following is the College response to the consultation paper.

“There is grave concern from HKCFP as the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) totally neglects the role of primary care practitioners as it only covers secondary hospital care. There must be a proper referral system from primary care practitioners. They act not just as gatekeeper but can also provide in-patient and after hospitalization care, thus providing genuine continuity of care. Without their involvement in any insurance scheme, there is bound to be abused and translated into more hospitalization, higher cost and eventually higher insurance premium that only the very minority can afford. This will completely defeat the purpose of cost shifting from Government to private.

The current consultation paper on VHIS is misleading. From the beginning of the document, it frames the approach to health in terms of private and public sectors. Most other health systems in the world considers the nature of health care in terms of hospital and non-hospital sectors. The mindset of the Government has been dominated by hospitalists. The public has been misled in thinking health care only in terms of hospital care. This approach is not sustainable. Overseas, decades of experience has shown correct attention in primary health care (out of hospital care) is the best known way to provide quality health care to a community or country.

The future of Hong Kong's health care system must build upon “wellness care” delivered by networks of community-based clinics and not focus on private or public hospitals. It will save billions by keeping people away from expensively dispensed hospital-based health care. Health insurance policies should prioritize and cover the challenge of staying well, rather than just the challenge of dispensing medicine when we are sick.

This scheme is supposedly targeting the middle-class population. The proposed tax incentive is hardly attractive. This subgroup will continue to utilize Hospital Authority resources since it is still relatively free.

There is uncertainly on the High Risk Pool with no solid proposal found in the consultation paper. Without the involvement of the primary care practitioners, this pool of patients is unsustainable by the insurers and will certainly end up in the Hospital Authority care at the present model.

Our conclusion is the Government is actually wasting a lot of health care money and energy for very little health benefit. It will not serve the purpose of shifting the resources from Government to private.”

Dr. Angus M W CHAN