02.01.01. The public health system | Hong Kong SAR

02.01.01. The public health system | Hong Kong SAR

16 Aug 2022

The public health services are financed by the Government and regulated by the Food and Health Bureau (FHB), Department of Health (DH), and Hospital Authority (HA) (HKSAR Government, 2019b).

  • Food and Health Bureau (FHB)

It is one of the policy bureaus of the Government responsible for forming policies and allocating resources for health services. It ensures that these policies are carried out effectively to protect and promote public health, and provide lifelong holistic health care to every resident (HKSAR Government, 2019b).

  • Department of Health (DH)

Under the FHB, the Department of Health serves as health adviser and agency to execute healthcare policies and statutory functions. It safeguards the community’s health through a range of promotional, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services. It also provides subsidised healthcare services through health centres and clinics in each district (HKSAR Government, 2019b).

  • The Hospital Authority (HA)

The Hospital Authority is a statutory body established under the Hospital Authority Ordinance in 1990. It is accountable to the Government through the Secretary of FHB and provides public hospital services for the whole Hong Kong territory. Every Hong Kong resident is eligible for subsidised healthcare services through 43 public hospitals, 73 general out-patient clinics and 49 specialist out-patient clinics operated by HA (HKSAR Government, 2019b; Hospital Authority, 2019a).

The public sector provides most of the secondary and tertiary care services in Hong Kong. Public hospitals under HA manage approximately 80% of all hospital admissions and the share of total bed-days reaches almost 90%. As of 31 March 2019, a total of 28,929 hospital beds were provided in public hospitals. Nearly all critical emergencies are tackled by the accident and emergency departments of public hospitals (Food and Health Bureau, 2017b).

Regarding the proportion of population using public healthcare, the Census and Statistics Department conducted a household survey on the population’s use of doctor consultation, hospitalisation, and dental consultation in 2016/17. While only 29.2% of doctor consultations took place in the public sector, 70.9% of the hospital admissions in Hong Kong were handled by public hospitals under Hospital Authority. Further breakdown of these findings by age and gender can be found from the survey report (Census and Statistics Department, 2017, December).


Census and Statistics Department. (2017, December). Thematic Household Survey Report No. 63. Retrieved from https://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B11302632017XXXXB0100.pdf

Food and Health Bureau. (2017b). Report of the Strategic Review on Healthcare Manpower Planning and Professional Development.

HKSAR Government. (2019b, March). Overview of the Health Care System in Hong Kong. Retrieved from https://www.gov.hk/en/residents/health/hosp/overview.htm

Hospital Authority. (2019a). Clusters, Hospitals & Institutions. Retrieved from http://www.ha.org.hk/visitor/ha_visitor_index.asp?Content_ID=10084&Lang=ENG&Dimension=100&Parent_ID=10042

Hospital Authority. (2019b). Hospital Authority Statistical Report 2018-2019.  Retrieved from https://www3.ha.org.hk/data/HAStatistics/DownloadReport/12?isPreview=False.