Chinese medicine clinics to go ahead in public hospitals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 November, 2004, 12:00am

Despite delays, the authority insists the roll-out will continue

The Hospital Authority yesterday pledged to press ahead with its plan to establish more Chinese medicine clinics at public hospitals.

The authority's director of professional services and human resources Ko Wing-man said the Hospital Authority and the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau were in discussion on how the clinics should be operated.

'We are summing up the experience of setting up three Chinese medicine outpatient clinics by the end of 2003. We compiled a report in the middle of this year and submitted it to the government only last month,' said Dr Ko.

His remarks came after the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood accused the government of delaying the establishment of more public Chinese medicine clinics, saying it was neglecting the needs of the elderly.

After Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's pledge in his 2001 policy address to bring Chinese medicine under the public health sector, the government announced a plan to set up clinics in all 18 districts by next year. But it has only established three so far, and says the scheme needs further study.

Dr Ko said the establishment of the clinics had been delayed by three-and-a-half years due to the outbreak of Sars and other reasons.

'But once the bureau has fleshed out the proposal, it will be tabled to the Executive Council and the Legislative Council. I believe it will be a matter of a few months,' he said.

Dr Ko was speaking after attending a forum on the integration of Chinese and western medicine at Hong Kong Baptist University yesterday.

Neither the authority nor the bureau gave a commitment on where the next Chinese medicine clinics would be established.

On the integration of both styles of medicine, Dr Ko said they would use a 'western-style approach' to integrate Chinese medicine into the public health system.

In the longer term, treatment would be dependant on a patient's situation and what style of medicine was best.

Chen Keji of the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine said at the forum that while doctors practised a mix of both styles of treatment on the mainland, preference was given to Chinese medicine.

He said doctors should exhaust all methods of Chinese medicine treatment before trying western medicine on a patient.