Council Meetings (Oral Question): Private Hospital Beds and Supporting Healthcare Reform(2009.09.16)

Mr CHAN Kin-por asked –

(a) what measures would be taken by the Administration to increase the number of in-patient hospital beds in the private sector, apart from developing private hospitals at the four reserved sites, to better dovetail with one of the objectives of healthcare reform of shifting better-off patients to use private medical services; and

(b) as the implementation of the medical insurance and savings scheme would take several years to realise, whether the Administration would increase the $50 billion that had been set aside for the healthcare reform to provide subsidies for people who participated in the scheme, in accordance with the inflation rates of recent years since 2008-2009.

SFH responded as follows –

(a) increasing the capacity of private medical services did not only mean increasing in-patient beds, as more and more medical treatments nowadays did not require patients to be hospitalised; and

(b) there was no plan to adjust the $50 billion fiscal reserve earmarked to support the healthcare reform. The earlier the public could reach a consensus on healthcare financing the better.

Mr CHAN Kin-por hoped that the Administration would make another one-off allocation from the fiscal reserves to support the healthcare reform, as this would better help save public healthcare costs in the end.

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