Aged condemn health care costs and waiting

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 June, 2008, 12:00am

A survey has found the elderly are not happy with long waits and costs of the public health care system, but experts said the government's financing proposals would not solve the problems.

Half of the 364 respondents to a survey by the Elderly Rights Concern Alliance, a group organised by Caritas' Youth and Community Service, complained that patients had to wait too long for specialist outpatient services.

And about 40 per cent said self- financed drugs and treatments were too expensive, even though many of them said the charges for residential treatments and emergency, general and special outpatient services were reasonable.

With less than a week left in the government's consultation on health care financing, Caritas released the results of interviews on the reform with more than 500 elderly, ill patients, housewives and young people. The interviewees said they did not want extra burdens, saying the government should provide affordable medical services through tax-based financing.

At a public forum yesterday, Chung Kim-wah, assistant professor of applied social sciences at Polytechnic University, said none of the financing models would help deteriorating public health care. 'The main problems right now are the mismanagement of human resources and frequent departures of frontline medical staff,' said Dr Chung.

The Civic Party released a paper on health care reform yesterday, urging the government to outline improvements to the system before asking the public to pay.