For information
14 September 1998

LegCo Panel on Health Services

Progress of the Consultancy Study on
Financing of the Hong Kong's Healthcare System


This paper informs Members of the present progress of the Consultancy Study on Financing of Hong Kong's Healthcare System.


2. Government is committed to a comprehensive review of the current healthcare system so as to ensure that quality medical care continues to be available and affordable to both individuals and the community. As part of the review, the Health and Welfare Bureau in last November commissioned the School of Public Health, Harvard University to carry out a consultancy study to examine Hong Kong's current healthcare system, and to recommend necessary changes. The Consultancy Study is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

3. The objectives of the consultancy study are :

  1. to investigate the existence and magnitude of the supply and demand-side problems facing the Hong Kong healthcare system;

  2. to project future service demand and healthcare costs, and determine Government's and users' ability to meet their costs;

  3. to prepare a first Domestic Health Account to indicate how health care spending is funded and expended;

  4. to develop financing, delivery and payment options for a future healthcare system which better integrates public/private sectors and primary/secondary/tertiary healthcare levels; and

  5. to conduct in-depth analyses of the financial implications, cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the selected options.


4. Harvard appointed University of Hong Kong to carry out a household telephone survey to collect information on the pattern of utilisation of different local health services and the associated expenditures. In addition to the findings of this survey, the Consultancy team has obtained from the Census and Statistics Department and other organisations further data necessary to carry out an analysis of the local health spending trends.

5. During the last nine months, the Consultancy team visited Hong Kong a number of times to solicit views of the major stakeholders, including medical and health organisations, patients' rights groups, the insurance industry, business and community leaders and government departments.

Present Position

6. The Consultancy Study has been generally on schedule. A large amount of relevant and useful data have been obtained, compiled and analysed. The Consultancy team is using these information obtained to finalise the Domestic Health Account and to carry out sensitivity tests to assess the future service demand and healthcare costs. The next step will be to devise reform options and conduct critical analysis of their suitability for Hong Kong.


7. The Consultancy team expects to submit its Report, which will include detailed recommendations on the way forward, before the end of this year.

Health and Welfare Bureau
September 1998