DAB held a roundtable forum on “The Development and Challenges of Cross-boundary Elderly Care” chaired by Legislative Councilor and Spokesperson on Welfare Policy Leung Che-cheung today (October 3, 2018). We invited Chairman of the Elderly Commission Dr. Lam Ching-choi, Hospital Chief Executive of the HKU-Shenzhen Hospital Dr. Lo Chung-mau, Chief Executive of the International Social Service Hong Kong Branch Mr. Stephen Yau, Director of the University of Hong Kong Sau Po Centre on Aging Dr. Vivian Lou and Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation Dr. Pamela Leung to join the discussion. Our guests proactively put forward many valuable advices on cross-border elderly care services.
Legislative Councilor Leung Che-cheung noted that all guests agreed that key consideration for retirement on the Mainland or not is medical services. Chairman of the Elderly Commission Dr. Lam Ching-choi proposed that the government can take forward a pilot scheme for residents in the two institutions that are running the “Pilot Residential Care Services Scheme in Guangdong” on the Mainland and allow them to receive the medical services they would receive in Hong Kong or be able to utilise distance-health services. After a certain level of concrete results is reached can with its scope be expanded to other Hong Kong elderly receiving CSSA and living on the Mainland. Hospital Chief Executive of the HKU-Shenzhen Hospital Dr. Lo Chung-mau also suggested that the government could continue to expand the veracity of health vouchers so that the elderly can use them for emergency services or hospital stays on the Mainland, which will absolve them of the need to return to Hong Kong for treatment and risks of delayed treatment.
Chief Executive of the International Social Service Hong Kong Branch Mr. Stephen Yau, and Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation Dr. Pamela Leung both pointed out that in cases they have dealt with, many seniors are forced to return to Hong Kong and leave the “Guangdong scheme” due to medical care problems. Moreover, on top of medical problems, the rising RMB and the living standards on the Mainland are also factors in discouraging Hong Kong elderly from retiring on the Mainland.
Director of the University of Hong Kong Sau Po Centre on Aging Dr. Vivian Lou feels that currently the whole world is researching cross-boundary elderly care and that many seniors with financial security are migrating to other foreign countries with superior living quality. Some people also move to other countries to take care of relatives, and Dr. Lou feels that Hong Kong is in a similar situation.
Legislative Councilor Leung Che-cheung feels that as the development of the Greater Bay Area continues apace and important infrastructure projects such as both the Hong Kong section of the XRL and the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge have begun operations, Hong Kong is closer to the Mainland and Macao more than ever. It is believed that many seniors in Hong Kong will choose to retire on the Mainland and he predicts that there will be a greater need to develop cross-boundary elderly care services. Therefore, the HKSAR government should implement policies that will facilitate this development such as expanding the scope of eligible use of health vouchers and developing distance health services.
Media Inquiries: Legislative Councilor Leung Che-cheung (9016 8088)