Budget promises local health care centre and hospital expansion

District health centres are to be established across Hong Kong and planning will shortly begin for the expansion of North Lantau Hospital, the government’s 2018-19 budget reveals.

Handing down the budget today, Financial Secretary Paul Chan says the first centre would be built in Kwai Chung in the third quarter of 2019, “after which we will progressively set up such centres in all 18 districts.”

He said he would set aside required resources to support the initiative, although he did not say where in Islands district the community centre would be located.

Chan said community-based healthcare could raise awareness of personal healthcare management and improve medical and rehabilitation services, thus reducing the load on hospitals.

North Lantau Hospital, which hit the headlines last year after an Audit Commission report assailed it for waste and mismanagement, is also set to expand. The commission found a fifth of the hospital was empty and some expensive medical equipment had been barely used.

Planning for the expansion will get underway in the 2020s to cope with the influx of more than 100,000 new residents within the next decade, Chan said.

Following release of the budget, Hospital Authority chairman Prof John Leung said the authority would commission more services for North Lantau hospital later this year.

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