New hospital boss vows to treat deficit
Mary Ann Benitez
A creative approach is needed over the lack of funds, he says
On the day of his appointment, the new Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk yesterday said innovative approaches were needed to address the authority's budget deficit amid shrinking government funding.
Mr Wu, the chairman of accounting giant Ernst & Young's Far East operations, said he had thought 'long and hard for many days' before accepting his appointment because of the 'onerous task' ahead, which was brought on by the deficit and hospitals' limited resources.
'That is why, apart from the conventional mind-set, we need innovative ways to address all these problems,' said Mr Wu, who has been a board member of the authority since 1999.
The authority, with an annual budget of about $29 billion, is expected to run a deficit of $600 million this year.
Mr Wu's appointment was announced by the new Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, York Chow Yat-ngok, on his first day on the job. Dr Chow and Mr Wu succeeded Yeoh Eng-kiong and Leong Che-hung respectively. Both resigned over the handling of last year's Sars outbreak.
Dr Chow, the former chief executive of Queen Mary Hospital, said the government would try to make good use of limited resources. 'We will maintain our vision,' he said. 'We will also empower members of the Hospital Authority, particularly the chairman, to look at the policy as well as the general management of the authority.'
Mr Wu said the authority would be transparent, 'enhancing communication to let people know what we are doing'. Asked to elaborate, he said: 'This is my first day; give me some time.'
Mr Wu, a national committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said he would resign from his other Hong Kong public duties to focus on his two-year tenure at the authority. He will retain his job with Ernst & Young.