Social Affairs and Culture: Medical Council to be formed

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Issue 976, Page 1 & 3
Word count: 1433
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

  • Medical Council to be launched
  • More sickbeds, health centres by 2020
  • Government explains Central Library’s new design contest

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Cheong U revealed at the Legislative Assembly yesterday that a 10-year community healthcare network plan has been initially formulated, which includes the establishment of a medical council and a central database, as well as to double the number of sickbeds in a bid to meet the World Health Organization’s recommendation.

Cheong U and other key officials under his portfolio will be at the legislature from 3pm to 8pm today to continue to answer lawmakers’ questions regarding the areas of health, education, social welfare, culture and tourism.

According to the introduction of the Secretary, apart from the Cotai hospital plan, the SAR government will push forward the construction and expansion projects of the Conde de São Januário Hospital (CHCSJ) and the Ka-Ho Rehabilitation Hospital in Coloane in 2010.

The CHCSJ emergency department will be able to offer 100 sickbeds and its area will jump three times to 4,000 square metres after expansion. The construction is expected to commence in the third quarter of this year and take two years to complete.

The Ka-Ho Rehabilitation Hospital also plans to provide 100 sickbeds.

Secretary Cheong said the government is going to set up a medical council in order to enhance the certification system of medical personnel’s professional qualifications, evaluation system and the mechanism for continuing professional development.

He said the government will strive to deliver the draft of the bill to the Executive Council for discussions in the second half of this year.

In regard to the medical malpractice bill, the Secretary said works are expected to begin simultaneously so that it can come into effect around the same time as the medical council.

Among the six special vocational systems in the medical field, Cheong U said bills have been formulated for five of them. The one regarding doctors “is more difficult to draft” but he said it should be completed in mid-April and then will enter the legislative process.

This year the government also has plans to upgrade the medical information management system by launching a medical central database to be shared among local hospitals.

Director of the Health Bureau (SS) Lei Chin Ion told lawmakers that Macau currently has a total of 1,030 sickbeds. It means that every 1,000 residents have to share 2.1 sickbeds in Macau, which is far below the proportions in Hong Kong (5.02), mainland China (3.01) and Japan (13.89).

Hence, Lei said the government plans to double the number to 2,000 within the next decade so that the proportion can be increased to 4/1000.

In addition, the 10-year community healthcare network plan suggests the establishment of a total of 11 health centres and two health stations, so that each health centre is to serve around 50,000 to 70,000 local residents and also can be accessed within 15 minutes of walking distance.

Meanwhile, starting this year the SAR government will significantly increase the number of trainee doctors including 54 trainee general practitioners and 31 trainee specialists. The two nursing colleges in Macau will also increase student intakes in order to cope with future demands.

Lei said the new Cotai hospital will house a training and research base for various types of medical professionals.

The SS head admitted that there is room to improve concerning the general waiting time for the specialist outpatient and emergency room services at CHCSJ. He revealed that a patient had to wait for eight weeks in average to have the first consultation in the specialist outpatient clinic.

Lei said the bureau will increase staff and resources as well as enhance the referral mechanisms in health centres and hospitals in a bid to cut down the waiting time.

He also pointed out that the misuse of ambulances has prolonged the waiting time in the emergency room.

At present the CHCSJ has 253 specialists and of them 178 were trained by the hospital.

Lei said the bureau has slowed down training in recent years, as the government is going to revise the system by unifying the training standards among the local hospitals.

The bill is in the final stage and is expected to be sent to the Executive Council in early 2011, he added.

The SS director said non-local doctors account for 15 percent of the total in the bureau. “The government did not have plans to cease hiring doctors from outside of Macau as the most famous hospitals in other places also have a certain number of non-local doctors”.

The Secretary said the Cotai hospital is unlikely to build a medical school since “the cost is massive and such schools can be found in neighbouring regions”, adding that it is more important for Macau to focus on training doctors and nurses at the moment.


In addition to the University of Macau’s Hengqin campus, Cheong U said the new tertiary education bill will introduce the dual degree system and the grade point average (GPA) system.

The government will also propose the establishment of a tertiary education evaluation system to ensure quality education and study the formation of a fund to support the development of higher education in Macau.

As for non-tertiary education, the Secretary said in the new academic year 2010/2011 the free education subsidy will be raised 5 to 5.88 percent.

Tuition allowances will also see an increase: kindergartens and primary schools from MOP10,000 to MOP11,000 and secondary schools from MOP12,000 to MOP13,000.

The Secretary said the government will optimise teaching staff’s working conditions through resources injections and revisions on related legislation.

The Institute of Tourism Studies (IFT) is going to launch night-time degree courses in Chinese language this year and also a master’s degree program in hotel management in August.

Cheong U said that he will discuss with the IFT about how to improve its resources in order to cope with the growing needs for teaching and management.

“Or otherwise it won’t be fair [for IFT] since the University of Macau is having a new campus and the Polytechnic Institute is also going to have a new building,” he added.

Elderly homes in the mainland

Apart from increasing child day care places by 300, Cheong U said the elderly home which is being built in Taipa will also increase 300 nursing places and is expected to be completed at the end of 2011.

According to director of the Social Welfare Bureau Ip Peng Kun, the SAR government has already solve the land problem for opening elderly homes in the mainland and is currently looking at related procedures and the land price.

After negotiating with the mainland authorities, Ip said the Macau government can register its name to become the user of a particular piece of land, which can then be leased to Macau’s private institutes to provide services in the elderly homes.

In addition, a residential home for the mentally disabled, a vocational training centre for the disabled and also a halfway house for discharged mental patients are scheduled to be built this year, the Secretary said.

New Central library contest

Secretary Cheong told lawmakers that the previous concept design competition for the new Central Library held in 2008 was “legitimate”, and the Commission Against Corruption at that time only recommended to the Cultural Affairs Bureau about how it could have enhanced the fairness and social recognition of the contest.

The Secretary explained that among the seven winning architects, more than three could not participate in the second round of the contest because they became civil servants or of personal reasons, which “greatly reduced the chance of being able to select the best architectural design”.

Therefore, he said the government decided to start it all over again by staging a new open contest this year.

The construction of the library in the old court in Nam Van is expected to begin at the end of 2011 or in early 2012, he added.

On the other hand, Cheong U said the long awaited bill for the protection of cultural heritage should be delivered to the Executive Council in the third quarter of this year.

Viva Macau’s ‘empty promise’

Director of the Macau Government Tourist Office Joao Antunes said at the legislature that last Friday when the problem first arose, Viva Macau had guaranteed to the government that it would arrange the two delayed flights to take off in Macau on the following day.

Therefore Antunes said the Tourism Crisis Management Office (GGCT) was unable to define the incident as a “crisis” and also to intervene immediately.

The GCCT have by far arranged 231 affected tourists to return home and around 20 local residents stranded abroad will fly back to Macau today.


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