Official Statements, Guildelines and Documents

Response of the Hong Kong College of Paediatricians to the Report on 'Improving Hong Kong' Health Care System: Why and For Whom?' by the Harvard Team

The Hong Kong College of Paediatricians would like to express our appreciation to the Government of Hong Kong SAR for commissioning a team of economists, physicians, epidemiologists, and public health specialists from Harvard University to conduct a study on Hong Kong's health care system in November 1997. This reflects the Government's determination to review the strengths and weaknesses of the current system of financing and health care delivery and to propose strategic options for improving the system in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong College of Paediatricians is one of the 15 constituent specialty colleges of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine. The main objects for which the College is established are:

Hence, the College, acting as child advocate, is obliged to express our views on the Harvard Report, to ensure that quality health service must be provided to all children in need without any barrier, be it financial, administrative or otherwise.

The Harvard Report has put much emphasis on options to improve financial sustainability of the health care system; however, the College would like to focus on the more important issues of improving equity, quality and efficiency of health care delivery for children in Hong Kong.

What the 'Harvard Report' did not address

Our proposals
Preventive Paediatrics

The College is of the opinion that the Government should take up the responsibility to provide primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in child care.

Organization of Child Health Services

The bulk of primary health care is currently provided by the private sector (curative) and the Department of Health (preventive). The more sophisticated medical problems are referred to specialists in the Hospital Authority and the private sector. At present, child health services are fragmented and compartmentalized.

Proper interface and collaboration among the Department of Health, Hospital Authority and the private sector should be promoted. This could be achieved by:

A dual system of public and private practice could co-exist and provide the freedom of choice for patients and avoid monopoly of services.

There should also be better coordination between health care services and other service providers, such as education and social services.

Professional Accountability and Quality Improvement Programmes

The College opines that improving safety and quality of care should be a central concern for all those in the health care system: policy makers, government, governing bodies, managers, health practitioners and consumers alike. The professional regulatory bodies, i.e. the Hong Kong Medical Council, would ensure that professional self-regulation keeps pace with public expectations and is more open and accountable. The health care professionals should take up the key responsibility of ensuring health care safety and quality. The general principles would be:

Professional Development

The College is committed to training and professional development of its members. Since its inauguration in 1991, the College has published its own journal, organized postgraduate training courses and update series and conduct examinations in Paediatrics to ensure the highest professional standard of competence and ethical integrity among paediatricians in Hong Kong. The maintenance of a high professional standard among our paediatricians is the best way to ensure that quality health care is delivered to children in our society.


The Hong Kong College of Paediatricians believes that the Government of Hong Kong SAR is committed to improving the health care system in Hong Kong. We believe that the central goal of quality improvement in health care is to sustain what is good about the existing system while focusing on the areas that require improvement. We believe that quality improvement could be achieved by partnership between the Government and the clinical profession. We believe that the ultimate aim of this partnership is 'HEALTH FOR ALL'.

We would like to conclude by quoting from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) which embodies the right of every child to:

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