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Hong Kong Healthcare Reform

Leung Sui Lun

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Author Note

This total 18 pages assignment is prepared for Sociology of Health (APSS281), taught by Mr. Kenneth LO


According to report by United Nations (2006), Hong Kong’s life expectancy ranked second among the world, while public health care expenditure only occupied 2.9% of GDP in 2006 (Hong Kong Year Book, 2006). It could be seen that Hong Kong public healthcare sector are both effective and efficient. However, the system had been challenging by various problems (see Table 1). Limited resources provided by public sector could not satisfy the increasing demand. Healthcare service was excessively abused. Patients in genuine need could not get their service as soon as possible. Minor illness deteriorated to be serious one. There was no end for government to invest more resource in healthcare system. Therefore government had proposed several healthcare reforms to solve problems since 2000. In which market funding method had been preferred to reduce government’s financial burden. Hong Kong government always emphasizes “Big Market and Small Government”. Does this principle still work in healthcare field? This article first discusses existing problems, and then provides an analytic argument on two financing models and healthcare reforms.

Population Ageing

Public hospital and clinic in Hong Kong are always overloaded. It can be attributed to population ageing. After World War II, lots of babies were born between 1946 to1964. This phenomenon was called Baby Boom (Bostrom, 2005). This group of people starts to age now. Their demand for healthcare service is reaching the peak for next several decades. In addition, the charge for specialist healthcare and major surgery in public hospital is cheaper but quality is not much different (see Table 2). Public sector copes with most of tertiary care case....
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