16 Aug 2022
The Health System in Hong Kong is characterised by its strong public sector operating in parallel with the private sector complementarily. While the public sector dominates secondary and tertiary care, the private sector is the major provider of primary care. Public healthcare in Hong Kong is universal and heavily subsidised by the Government. Through the Hospital Authority and Department of Health, a wide range of comprehensive services including inpatient care, general outpatient, and specialist outpatient clinics are provided at a reduced price to all Hong Kong residents in need. Older adults and people with chronic illness are the major users of public healthcare services. Due to the insufficient capacity of the public sector and rapid population ageing, there are long waiting times for most of the public specialist services. Private healthcare, on the other hand, consistently serves as an option with higher flexibility for people who can afford more at their own expense and do not want to wait for the public service. General practitioners in private clinic are the most common first points of consultation in primary care in Hong Kong. In the recent years, to reduce the burden on the public healthcare systems, the Government has been implementing various measures to retain the manpower in the public sector and shift the delivery of some healthcare services from the public to the private sector.