Secretary for Labour & Welfare Matthew Cheung and Secretary for Food & Health Dr Ko Wing-man brief the media on health and welfare initiatives outlined in the 2013 Policy Address.
1,200 elderly vouchers to be issued
January 18, 2013
About 1,200 vouchers will be given to senior citizens in September under the Pilot Scheme on Community Care Service Voucher for the Elderly, Secretary for Labour & Welfare Matthew Cheung says.
He and Secretary for Food & Health Dr Ko Wing-man briefed the media today on health and welfare initiatives outlined in the 2013 Policy Address.
Mr Cheung said eight districts have been identified for the pilot scheme, which will last for two years. Eligible elderly can choose the services that suit their needs with the use of service vouchers, using the “money follows the user” approach.
Silver hair market
He said the current community care market is not mature and even the middle-class cannot have the services they require. Some elderly have to enter residential care centres too early.
Mr Cheung said the voucher scheme will encourage service providers and social enterprises to provide different levels of services to enhance the silver hair market.
The scheme will launch in September.
On standard working hours, Mr Cheung said the Special Committee on Standard Working Hours will be formed in March to follow up on the Report of the Policy Study on Standard Working Hours.
The committee will comprise government officials, representatives of labour unions and employers’ associations, academics and community leaders. They will explore issues, build consensus and identify the way forward. Legislation is one of the considerations for discussion.
Review of healthcare resources
Dr Ko said the Government will set up a steering committee in the first quarter to review the Hospital Authority's operation and the cost-effectiveness of $40 billion in funding.
He said the Government wants to improve health insurance products on the market, and he hopes to set a minimum standard to protect consumers.
Tax breaks and other financial incentives are being studied to encourage people to purchase medical insurance to reduce the pressure on public hospitals.
Dr Ko said the Government will put forward a proposal on the Health Protection Scheme this year for consultation, adding he is optimistic the scheme can be introduced within this Government's term.