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40th Anniversary Celebration
About HKCFP > President’s Message

May 2016

Primary Care is extremely important to any healthcare system in the world. The research evidence by the late Prof Barbara Starfield shows that a greater emphasis in a country on Primary Care and Family Medicine can be expected to lower the cost of care, improve health through access to more appropriate services and reduce the inequities in a population of health. The ultimate goal of Primary Care is better health for all. Family Physicians, nurses and other allied professionals are the pillars to achieve this goal.

The 6th Hong Kong Primary Care Conference will happen on 4-5 June 2016. The organizing committee has chosen “ A Flourishing Community- Our Vision in Primary Care” as the main theme to address present and future development in Hong Kong and worldwide. We are privileged to have Prof Michael Kidd, President of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA), Prof Sophia Chan, Under Secretary of Food and Heath Bureau, Hong Kong SAR and Prof Lam Tai Pong, Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, The University of Hong Kong to deliver three high power plenary lectures, namely “Flourishing Communities- How do we Achieve our Global Vision for Primary Care”, “Primary Care Development in Hong Kong” and “Future developments of Family Medicine in Hong Kong”respectively. This year we even have two workshops on Communication Skills in Putonghua to address local and Greater China participants. Don’t miss this great event.

Immediately after the Primary Care Conference will be the 29th Fellowship Conferment Ceremony and the 27th Dr. Sun Yat Sen Oration on 5th June 2016 afternoon. The orator will be Prof. Gabriel M Leung, Dean, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong. Obviously Prof Leung is the best person to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, an alumnus of HKU. All Members and Fellows are most welcome to attend and join us on this memorable occasion.

The Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill 2016 has caused a storm in our medical field. The President of Hong Kong Medical Association (HKMA) has resigned without the support to call for referendum to release the 7 seats occupied by HKMA for open election by all members. One Lawmaker has criticised the government saying that half of the 26 voters in the Academy of Medicine (HKAM) were not doctors. In fact all AM Council members are doctors. A lot of members and fellows are not clear with the composition of the Medical Council (MCHK) and ask me if the College has any representative.

The existing MCHK consists of 28 members. Of the 14 elected members, 7 are elected by all Hong Kong doctors and 7 are elected by the HKMA Council. Of the 14 appointed members, 2 of each are from Department of Health (DH), Hospital Authority (HA), Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (HKAM), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU) and The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the remaining 4 are lay members. The saga starts with the Government proposing to have extra 4 lay members. Due to professional autonomy, most doctors prefer to increase the number of elected members by 4 simultaneously . Now the latest proposal is 4-2+2. This means 2 appointed seats from the HKAM will be converted to elected category with election by the Academy Council and therefore the total number of elected members will be 16 and the appointed members are 8 lay members plus 2 of each from DH, HA, CU and HKU. With this proposal, there are still 24 doctors versus 8 lay members.

In fact our best representation is from HKAM. HKCFP is one of the founding Colleges of HKAM and I am a member of HKAM Council representing the College. AM Council has agreed to keep the current practice of having nomination and election conducted within HKAM Council. Election of representatives via the HKAM Council demonstrates fairness to all Colleges irrespective of their sizes, which vary significantly from under 200 to over 1,600 Fellows. A general polling is fair to individual Fellows but may sacrifice the rights of Colleges with a smaller number of Fellows. Weighing the two, the rights of Colleges are more important, as each specialty College makes an equal contribution to the public. However, HKAM Council at the last meeting agreed in principle that the nomination could be open to all Fellows if necessary, as long as the election should still be within Council in order to protect the interest of Colleges with fewer number of Fellows. HKAM has no objection to the socalled 4-2+2 proposal, given that it does not alter the existing practice of the Academy and could help achieve the aim of having 1:1 ratio of “elected” to “appointed” members in MCHK. There was no objection to supporting the addition of lay members to MCHK.

The mottos of the MCHK are: Maintaining Professionalism, Protecting the Public and Ensuring Justice. Looking at the mottos superficially, 2 out of 3 has nothing to do with professional autonomy. A lot of us are still registered with General Medical Council, UK. GMC has 24 Council members consisting 12 medical doctors and 12 lay members. All members were appointed following an independent appointment process. Our profession in Hong Kong has been lucky so far but for how long!

Dr. Angus M W CHAN