Legislative Council

LC Paper No. CB(2)1172/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB2/PL/HS

LegCo Panel on Health Services

Minutes of Meeting
held on Monday, 12 October 1998 at 8:30 am
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

Hon Michael HO Mun-ka (Chairman)
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP

Member Absent :

Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP

Member Attending :

Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Public Officers Attending :

Item II - Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene

Mr Stephen NG
Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare

Principal Assistant Secretary for Constitutional Affairs

Dr Gloria TAM
Assistant Director of Health (Hygiene)

Item III - Briefing by the Secretary for Health and Welfare on the Chief Executive's Policy Address 1998

Mrs Katherine FOK, JP
Secretary for Health and Welfare

Mr Gregory LEUNG, JP
Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare

Mr Stephen NG
Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare

Chief Executive of Hospital Authority

Dr Margaret CHAN, JP
Director of Health

Clerk in Attendance :

Ms Doris CHAN
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 4

Staff in Attendance :

Mrs Justina LAM
Assistant Secretary General 2

Mrs Eleanor CHOW
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 4

I. Date of next meeting and items for discussion

The next meeting would be held on 9 November 1998 at 8:30 am. The Chairman suggested and members agreed to consider the items for discussion later on.

II. Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 388/98-99(01))

2. Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare (DSHW) briefly explained the main problems in the existing structure for delivery of food safety and environmental hygiene services and the considerations for a revised structure as set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the paper. He advised that the Constitutional Affairs Bureau had commissioned a Consultancy Study on Food Safety and Environmental Services with a view to devising a structure which would improve leadership, efficiency, policy formulation and co-ordination. He said that while the detailed arrangements were being finalized, the direction was to establish a new bureau to provide central co-ordination and policy on food safety and environmental hygiene matters. It would be underpinned by the existing Environmental Protection Department (EPD), Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) and a new department which would be responsible, among other things, for all aspects of food safety and environmental hygiene. This would enable the Government to respond to food safety crises and other emergency situations swiftly. Expert and dedicated staff would be drawn from the Department of Health (DH), the AFD, the Urban Services Department (USD) and the Regional Services Department (RSD) to provide food safety and environmental hygiene services in the new department. The new bureau would be accountable to the LegCo.

3. Miss Cyd HO said that members should bear in mind that the municipal councils were still functioning. Discussion on the proposed structure by no means implied that members had accepted the Administration's proposal of dissolving the two councils. The Chairman clarified that the purpose of the meeting was for the Administration to brief the Panel on the proposed arrangements for improving the delivery of food safety and environmental hygiene services. At the end of the discussion of the item, the Panel would let the Administration know whether there was consensus on the item.

4. Dr YEUNG Sum said that the Administration should explain clearly to the public that food safety and environmental hygiene matters were dealt with by relevant government departments and not co-ordinated and led by the municipal councils as perceived by some members of the public. He queried whether the proposed new structure would be able to streamline operation. He said that the Administration had to provide sufficient justifications if it wished to seek additional funding approval from the Finance Committee.

5. DSHW responded that currently, five government departments were responsible for dealing with food safety and environmental hygiene matters. Policy matters in relation to food were co-ordinated through the Hygiene Services Committee, which however did not have the authority to make any binding decisions on the two municipal councils. He pointed out that the fragmentation of responsibilities between the municipal councils, the policy bureaux and government departments had led to a lack of central point of direction for the overall co-ordination and policy of food safety and environmental hygiene matters and had resulted in duplication of efforts and adversely affected efficiency in delivery of services. The new structure would provide clear leadership and facilitate optimum deployment of resources and enhance efficiency. Principal Assistant Secretary for Constitutional Affairs (PAS/CA) assured members that the structure would be streamlined. He quoted for example that the proposed amalgamation of USD and RSD would result in some savings on directorate and officer grade of staff.

6. Dr LEONG Che-hung said that the medical profession supported that the function of food safety and environmental hygiene should be centralized. However, he had reservation about the proposed structure and considered that a more clear-cut structure would be to split the Health and Welfare Bureau (HWB) into two bureaux responsible for health services and welfare services respectively. The health services bureau would be responsible for all matters relating to health, including medical and health care, food safety and environmental hygiene. Ideally, the bureau secretary should be a professional instead of someone from the Administrative Officer grade. He pointed out that the new structure proposed by the Administration had the following shortcomings -

  1. The functions and powers of the DH would be reduced and weakened given that expert and professional staff would be drawn to the new department;

  2. The delineation of responsibilities between the DH and the new department was unclear. Paragraph 4(c) of the paper stated that the new department would maintain very close co-operation between the government and all relevant stakeholders including international organizations such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). Given that the role was presently performed by the DH, Dr LEONG was concerned about duplication of work. He also doubted whether the new department, which would focus on food safety and environmental hygiene, would have the expertise to liaise with international organizations on disease related matters;

  3. The DH was currently responsible for prevention of diseases including those arising from food. Under the proposed structure, staff in the DH might be answerable to two department heads; and

  4. It was unclear whether health food should be put under the control of the DH or the new department.

7. Dr LEONG said that the above shortcomings could be overcome if the function of food safety and environmental hygiene was put under the DH, and under a bureau responsible for health services.

8. DSHW replied that the Administration had considered various options of restructuring and noted that each option had its merits and weaknesses. The prime consideration for the Administration was that the new structure must be able to provide strong and clear leadership in the co-ordination and direction of food safety and environmental hygiene matters without incurring additional resources. On the concerns expressed by Dr LEONG, DSHW and PAS/CA made the following points-

  1. Although some staff members would be transferred from the DH to the new department, the responsibilities of the DH would not be reduced because there were many important work priorities in the pipeline including, among other things, the review of health care financing and the introduction of a statutory framework for regulation and control of Chinese medicine. Having regard to the current workload of the DH and the amount of work involved in restructuring and the formulation and execution of food safety and environmental hygiene policies, a dedicated new department was considered a better option;

  2. Grouping food safety and environmental hygiene functions of the five relevant departments into a new department would improve cost-effectiveness and ensure prompt response to crises and other emergency situations given the necessary expertise, manpower and resources could be swiftly mobilized and efficiently utilized;

  3. The DH would continue to liaise with international organizations such as the CDCP and World Health Organization (WHO). Some professional staff such as doctors and nurses would be transferred from DH to the new department;

  4. The Administration agreed that there might be grey areas such as health food for which demarcation of responsibilities had yet to be defined. However, the general direction was that all matters relating to food safety should fall under the purview of the new department; and

  5. The new department would be staffed with professionals and a deputy director would be a medical practitioner.

9. Dr LEONG Che-hung clarified that he had suggested that the secretary of the new bureau should be a professional but had not specified that he must be a medical practitioner. He reiterated that he supported the centralization of food safety and environmental hygiene but had reservation about the proposed structure which failed to define responsibilities clearly. He remained of the view that the scope of responsibilities of the DH should be expanded to cover food safety and environmental hygiene matters.

10. Miss CHAN Yuen-han commented that as the new structure appeared to have created other problems, she queried whether it had provided solutions to the existing problems. In response to a question from Miss CHAN, DSHW said that there were external factors which further complicated the problem of food safety. With the emergence of new developments such as novel foods, antibiotic resistant pathogenic micro-organisms, changing eating habit (such as eating raw meat and cold dishes), coupled with aggravating factors such as increasing mobility, deteriorating ecosystem and ageing population, it was necessary to strengthen the mechanism for food control.

11. In response to the Chairman, DSHW said that in the event of food poisoning, the new department would be responsible for the follow-up actions because food-borne diseases fell under the jurisdiction of the new department. On a further question from the Chairman regarding massive outbreak of food-borne diseases such as cholera infection, DSHW said that the new department would be the major department and spokesman responsible for combating the disease whilst the DH would continue liaising externally with the CDCP and the WHO. The Chairman expressed alarm that the DH, being the health authority in Hong Kong, had no role to play in the matter. Dr LEONG Che-hung commented that given that many infectious diseases were food-related, manpower in the DH could be reduced by half if it was not involved in the operation.

12. DSHW said that the delineation of policy responsibilities and power of the new department had yet to be finalized by the Consultancy Study. As far as infectious diseases were concerned, the preliminary consideration was that food-borne communicable diseases would be mainly handled by the new department while the DH would concentrate on the control and prevention of non-food-borne communicable diseases. The food and public health branch of the new department would be divided into two sections, each headed by a health care professional. One section would be responsible for the control, investigation and prevention of food-borne illnesses while the other section would be responsible for matters such as food inspection. An advisory committee would also be established to advise on major policy issues, as well as to allow greater professional participation in formulating policies. The structure aimed to provide an effective mechanism for food control and prevention of potential health hazards.

13. Assistant Director of Health (Hygiene) (ADH) said that for special cases such as cholera , the DH had the responsibility to report to the WHO although the new department would also be involved in handling the outbreak.

14. The Chairman said that given that two departments would be involved in food-borne communicable diseases, the new structure failed to address the problem of duplication of work and resources. He asked the Administration to explain the division of responsibilities between the DH and the new department in handling E. coli, malaria and other food-borne and water-borne diseases.

15. Mr LAW Chi-kwong pointed out that an outbreak of epidemic diseases could arise from a combination of food, water and environment factors. Citing an example of contamination of fish in a culture area resulting from polluted drainage water, he asked whether the new bureau would also be responsible for the control of drainage and water work in this regard.

16. DSHW and PAS/CA responded with the following points-

  1. The division of responsibilities was being studied by the consultant, Mr Albert LAM Chi-chiu, who was conducting the Consultancy Study on Food Safety and Environmental Services. Food safety involved a large number of processes from import, production, consumption, to curative treatment. Some division of work between the new department, the DH and in some cases, other departments would be inevitable and it was a matter of judgement to adopt the optimum option;

  2. The Administration would not rule out the possibility of the new department seeking co-operation from other departments when air, water and food contaminations were involved, but the direction was for the new department to handle food related matters. This was a world-wide trend. For instance, President Clinton had recently directed that food safety control in the United States should be centralized;

  3. As rightly pointed out by members, diseases could be food-borne, air-borne and water-borne. Given the three elements were interactive and inter-related, it was important that the functions should be centralized to ensure an effective and efficient surveillance on food safety and environmental hygiene;

  4. The imminent task of the restructuring was to reorganize the relevant staff in the five relevant departments, comprising some 18 000 staff members, into one department. As to whether drainage and water work would come under the responsibility of the new bureau as mentioned in paragraph 15 above, the Administration would not consider the possibility in the short term, given that involving too many departments in restructuring would hamper efficiency.

17. The Chairman said that he was not convinced that the proposed structure was better than the existing structure. As the new structure did not provide a clear-cut division of responsibilities, he failed to see how the operation could be more efficient.

18. Dr LEONG said that the Administration was giving conflicting information. DSHW had advised that food related diseases, eg. cholera infection, would be dealt by the new department while ADH had advised that for special cases both the DH and the new department would be involved. He said that the delineation of responsibilities over disease control had to be carefully considered. He disagreed with ADH that cholera epidemic was an isolated incident, given that hepatitis, avian flu and E. coli were all common food-borne infectious diseases. Dr LEONG said that he strongly opposed the classification of infectious diseases into food-borne and non-food-borne for the sake of delineating responsibilities between the DH and the new department. He said that for the health of the community, communicable diseases must be controlled by the health authority. Taking avian flu as an example (the disease was initially a food-borne disease but after mutation would develop into an air-borne disease), Dr LEONG pointed out that communicable diseases could not be arbitrarily categorized. He enquired about the role of the DH in the overall control of communicable diseases under the new structure. He said that he did not support the argument that the DH was inundated with work and therefore it was undesirable to expand its scope of responsibilities. He considered that the scope of responsibilities of the DH could be reviewed and expanded as long as there were justifications.

19. Dr YEUNG Sum shared Dr LEONG's concern that the new structure might make staff of the DH answerable to both the new department and the DH. He considered that the situation was no different from the existing one except that the reporting channel had changed from the municipal councils to the new department. He opined that in order to safeguard public health, the DH should be responsible for all the measures against the spread of communicable diseases irrespective whether they were food-borne, air-borne or water borne.

20. In response to members' observations, DSHW and PAS/CA made the following comments -

  1. The new structure was proposed after consultation with some medical experts and academics who had generally endorsed the proposal;

  2. The option for the DH to take over the control of food safety and environmental hygiene had been considered by the consultant. In view of DH's heavy workload, the preliminary conclusion was that clear-cut food related incidents such as food poisoning, red tide, food animal related matters, etc. would be co-ordinated by the new department. The DH would concentrate on handling non-food borne communicable diseases. It would be difficult for the DH to absorb further responsibities; and

  3. The Administration would take members' views into consideration when finalizing the detailed arrangements for the new structure.

21. The Chairman commented that health authorities in other countries were responsible for the control and prevention of communicable diseases and he was not aware that any of them had classified infectious diseases into different categories and delegated their responsibilities to other departments. He concluded the discussion of this item by pointing out that the majority of the members present at the meeting were not convinced that the new structure was better than the existing one given other departments would be involved. He said that the Panel should further discuss the matter when the report of the Consultancy Study was available.

22. Dr LEONG Che-hung said that his reason for not accepting the paper was different from other members. He did not support the mode of operation for the new structure but supported the Government to centralize the function of food safety and environmental hygiene under its control. He reiterated that he had reservation about dividing communicable diseases into different categories based on their causes.

23. DSHW clarified that the DH would continue to be the health authority of Hong Kong under the new structure, and it would work closely with the new department in the future.

III. Briefing by the Secretary for Health and Welfare on the 1998 Policy Address

24. The Secretary for Health and Welfare (SHW) briefed members on the major policy programmes for 1998 as listed below -

  1. control of communicable disease;
  2. food safety;
  3. healthy living into the 21st century;
  4. hospital services;
  5. Chinese medicine; and
  6. review of the health care system.

A copy of her speech is in the Appendix.

25. Following SHW's briefing, members exchanged views with the Administration on the following issues.

Review of the health care system

26. Dr LEONG Che-hung criticized the Government for failing to review and formulate long-term health care policies for Hong Kong. He said that the last White Paper on Health Care was published way back in 1974. The Administration had committed in the 1997 Policy Address to provide a detailed report on the comprehensive review of the existing health care system in 1998 but the pledge had not been met.

27. The Chairman expressed similar concern. He said that SHW's predecessors had commissioned a number of studies and every time it was claimed that the study was the first step in a review leading to the formulation of long-term health care policies. Although these studies had been completed, the policies had not been drawn up. He said that since SHW had again said that the Consultancy Study on Financing Hong Kong's Health Care System (the Consultancy Study) was a first step in a review, he would like the Administration to provide a time-table for formulating and implementing long-term health care policies.

28. SHW clarified that the studies carried out by her predecessors were related to the provision of health care services while the Consultancy Study being carried out by the School of Public Health of the Harvard University was related to health care financing and delivery of health care. Given that long term health care policy was a complex issue with far-reaching implications, in-depth deliberations and thorough consultation were required. With the increasing demand for public hospital services and a growing ageing population, the current heavily-subsidized public health care system might prove to be financially unsustainable in the long term. In this regard, the Administration was considering options to achieve a better sharing of workload between the public and private sectors. SHW assured members that it remained the policy of the Government to provide a sustainable system to ensure that the public could continue to have access to quality health care at an affordable price.

29. SHW further said that the Consultancy Report, which would include recommendations on the way forward, would be submitted to the Administration before the end of this year. She said that it would be unrealistic to assume that the existing health care system, which had been in operation for so many years, could be changed overnight. Reforms on the health care system would be a gradual process.

30. Dr LEONG said that the Administration should set out the direction for health care policy in the 1998 Policy Address despite the fact that the Consultancy Report would only be completed at the end of the year. He asked whether the Administration would have the political determination to implement the user-pay principle if it was recommended by the Consultancy Report, and if so, how the policy would be implemented. SHW responded that she could not answer the question at this stage when the Administration had yet to receive the Consultancy Report. The Administration would ensure that medical care was affordable to both individuals and the community.

31. Dr YEUNG Sum asked the Administration to clarify as to whether the in-patient service fees would be increased from $68 per day to some $600, as reported in the press. SHW replied that the report was unfounded. Noting that public expenditure on health care was projected to increase by a further 50% between now and 2010, Miss CHAN Yuen-han asked whether the Government would increase medical fees in order to alleviate pressure on public finances. SHW replied that the Administration had never considered the option of solely increasing medical fees as being an effective and total solution to health care financing. Having regard to the limited resources and the increasing demand on public health care, the Administration would examine the interface between primary, secondary and tertiary health care services and the respective roles of the public and private sectors in the provision of health care services, with a view to striking an appropriate balance in the utilization of resources.

32. In response to Mr LAW Chi-kwong, SHW said that after receiving the Consultancy Report, the Administration would first conduct an internal consultation, analyze the reform options and their suitability for Hong Kong. The Administration would also request the consultant to provide supplementary information if necessary. The Administration aimed to commence public consultation in around mid-1999.

33. Miss Cyd HO asked about the period and method of public consultation as she was concerned about the way that public opinions were being analyzed. She opined that the data should be objectively and fairly analyzed without prejudice against identical submissions or giving weight to the opinions of certain groups. SHW said that she would have due regard to Miss HO's concerns. On the time-table and method of consultation, SHW said that details of the arrangement had yet to be worked out. The Administration would conduct an extensive consultation, having considered the complexity of the issue and its implications on the community.

34. On SHW's earlier comment that ageing population was one of the reasons leading to the review of health care financing, Miss Cyd HO said that based on the initiatives for elderly health care proposed in the 1998 Policy Address, she did not see any substantial expenditure being incurred in this respect. She pointed out that for geriatric day places, only 40 additional places would be provided by 2002 on top of the 40 places that had already been provided in the past 12 months.

35. SHW responded that the initiatives set out in the 1998 Policy Address could not reflect the full picture of the elderly persons' demand on health care, given medical services, including in-patient and out-patient services, were provided to the general public as a whole. Statistics indicated that over 30% in-patient service and over 40% out-patient service were rendered to elderly persons, not to mention that there were also health centres dedicated to the elderly.

Enhanced Productivity Programme

36. Referring to the Enhanced Productivity Programme proposed by the Chief Executive to create an efficient and cost-effective Government, Dr LEONG Che-hung asked whether the Hospital Authority (HA) would also be required to achieve the 5% productivity gain by 2002. He pointed out that the HA had introduced productivity measures since 1993 and had achieved considerable gains since then. He opined that the HA could not trim its resources further at this stage.

37. The Chairman and Miss CHAN Yuen-han echoed Dr LEONG's view and said that the HA was facing increasing workload but its manpower had been kept to a minimum. They were concerned that further pressure would demoralize front-line staff and affect service quality. The Chairman further said that the HA had accumulatively achieved 7.5% gain in the past years and he noted that the budget for the HA in the coming year would be reduced further by some $100 million. He said that if the HA had to follow the Productivity Enhanced Programme, he would like to know in detail how the 5% gain was to be achieved, what expenses would be cut and which services were expected to achieve gains.

38. SHW responded that the Enhanced Productivity Program would apply to all public funded bodies and the HA was no exception. She noted that the HA had been making considerable improvement in cost-effectiveness but it did not mean that it could not continue to make further progress. She said that to cope with the increase in demand for health care services, more medical facilities coupled with additional manpower resources would be provided to the HA in future years. She said that she would ensure that enhanced productivity would not be achieved at the expense of service quality. She undertook to brief members on the detailed arrangements in due course.Adm

HA Clinical and hospital services

39. In response to Mr TAM Yiu-chung, Chief Executive of Hospital Authority (CEHA) said that the demand for HA health care services including in-patient, special clinical and emergency services had increased in the range of 5% to 10% in the past year. In response to the Chairman, CEHA undertook to provide a breakdown on the respective increases.HA

40. Referring to the provision of training for 30 family medicine physicians and continuous education for 4 000 doctors, 7 000 nursing staff and 3 000 allied health professionals set out in the Policy Address, Dr LEONG Che-hung asked whether these were on-going training programmes, and if so, why they had suddenly become new initiatives. He also asked whether the training programmes were funded by new money. He further commented that the target to train 30 family medicine physicians to strengthen "gate-keeping" functions was insufficient.

41. CEHA explained that the training programmes were not new and had been carried on to upgrade levels of competence and skills in the profession in the past years. The costs involved in training were funded by the HA. SHW supplemented that the Administration was committed to ensure the availability of qualified, competent and dedicated health care professionals to deliver medical services and for this reason, training was included as one of the initiatives in the Policy Address. In response to the Chairman, CEHA undertook to provide more information on how the number of trainees for each programme was arrived at. HA

Elderly health care

42. In response to Mr TAM Yiu-chung, Director of Health (D of H) said that the Government had committed in the 1997 Policy Address to provide 18 Elderly Health Centres and 18 visiting health teams within two years. Seven Elderly Health Centres and seven visiting health teams were now in operation and it was expected that the overall target could be achieved on schedule. She said that the seven Elderly Health Centres had been functioning for two months and had received favourable response. Some 7 000 elderly persons had joined the Elderly Health Centres, and the demand was expected to increase in the coming years given the growing ageing population. The Administration would review the operation in time and make necessary improvements.

Control of communicable diseases

43. In response to the Chairman, D of H said that having regard to the advanced monitoring mechanism for surveillance of communicable diseases in other countries, Hong Kong had to keep abreast of the latest technologies and information on disease control in order not to be lagging behind. To strengthen the prevention and control of communicable diseases, the Government would step up health surveillance programmes, enhance analysis of disease data, improve laboratory support and increase networking with overseas health authorities. To carry out the above work, the Administration would first seek funding approval from the Finance Committee at the end of this year for nine additional posts. The next step was to set up a public health laboratory in 2002 to centralize and enhance existing services.

Progress Report

44. Referring to the Administration's commitment to reduce the average waiting time for first appointment at all specialist clinics from eight weeks to five weeks by the year 2000, Mr LAW Chi-kwong said that according to the Progress Report, the average waiting time for first appointment was maintained at less than three months at 90% of specialist clinics at present. He commented that the same measuring unit should be used when evaluating progress of a programme, otherwise it was difficult to draw a comparison between the target and current status.

45. CEHA said that he would have regard to the point made by Mr LAW. He advised that the average waiting time for first appointment at specialist clinics was three months at present. Measures had been introduced to reduce the waiting time but due to the increasing number of appointments, the target had not been achieved. He said that the HA would continue to work towards a shorter waiting time.

46. Miss Cyd HO said that the Chief Secretary for Administration had been criticized for putting quantity ahead of quality when presenting the Progress Report. She opined that on health care matters, quality and quantity of services were equally important.

Review of structure for delivery of food safety and environmental hygiene services

47. In response to members' concerns expressed under agenda item II above, SHW reassured members that the DH would remain the health authority of Hong Kong, despite the setting up of a new department for food safety and environmental hygiene as proposed in the new structure. As regards the delineation of responsibilities between the DH and the new department, it was currently under study by the consultant, Mr Albert LAM Chi-chiu. SHW reiterated that detailed arrangements would be revealed to members once finalized.

48. D of H said that while detailed arrangements relating to the delineation of responsibilities were being worked out, the direction to centralize co-ordination and policy on food safety and environmental hygiene was very clear and was supported by professional bodies and the public. The decision had taken into account the inherent problems and weaknesses in the existing structure, the urgent need to strengthen monitoring ability and the objective to provide better health care and food safety services to the community.

49. Dr LEONG Che-hung said that he had the impression that the roles and responsibilities in relation to food safety, health and disease were all mixed up in the new structure. He asked the Administration to clarify which department would be in charge when there was an outbreak of cholera infection. He reiterated that communicable diseases could not be arbitrarily categorized into food-borne and non-food-borne.

50. D of H responded that while communicable diseases could not be categorized, follow-up actions to combat spread of diseases could be divided among departments. For instance, if the cause of cholera was food processing, the new department would take charge of food surveillance surrounding the case, while the DH would take the lead in the outbreak which included liaising with international organizations and exchanging information with local hospitals on cholera cases.

51. The Chairman pointed out that division of duties would lead to the problem of fragmentation of responsibilities and weaken the prevention of potential health hazards, which had been a matter of grave concerns in the current structure.

52. The meeting ended at 10:45 am.

Legislative Council Secretariat
25 January 1999