To Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Executive
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government
Address: Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office,
26/F, West Wing, Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar, Hong Kong
Cancer Strategy Concern Group's Submission on 2020 Policy Address
It is understood that the public consultation period for the 2020 Policy Address has begun.
The Cancer Strategy Concern Group is now presenting our recommendations to the Government on the 2020 Policy Address, hoping that the Government could strengthen its support for cancer patients and implementation of the "Hong Kong Cancer Strategy". We believe the Government can further promote the prevention and screening of different types of cancer and consider incorporating our recommendations into the future policy guidelines.
1. Under the epidemic, cancer-related services in Hong Kong have almost ceased, seriously affecting the condition and daily life of cancer patients.
Due to the suspension of non-emergency services during the epidemic, the waiting time for
cancer patients has prolonged, and the number of people waiting for treatments has increased. Scheduled follow-up consultations or related operations have to be postponed as well. Coupled with the suspension of visit arrangements by the Hospital Authority, relatives have not been able to contact or visit the inpatients, causing anxiety for both sides. On the other hand, the demand for relief treatments is rising. Since hospitals cannot arrange admission due to the shortage of hospital resources, this causes more suffering to terminal patients and their caregivers. We urge the Hospital Authority to resume cancer services as soon as possible. We also recommend the Government to strengthen public-private cooperation to subsidize cancer patients in the private market to speed up their access to services, diagnoses or treatments.
2. Update Hong Kong Cancer Strategy
The Government announced the Hong Kong Cancer Strategy in 2019 and set a series of
targets. In light of the epidemic, targets should be adjusted accordingly to monitor the implementation progress. We also suggest adding new targets in response to the arising
situations that have emerged recently.
In terms of prevention and screening, as district health centres (DHCs) come into service,
cancer prevention and screening work should be implemented in Primary Healthcare, especially the existing programs(e.g. cervical vaccine subsidy program). In addition, the expert group has recommended guidelines to be updated to reinforce risk-based breast cancer screening and we recommend setting new targets for breast cancer screening coverage.
In terms of treatment, we propose to set up an express mechanism to expedite the inclusion of cancer drugs that have been proven to have significant curing effects into the HA drug list, such as immunotherapy drugs, and to relax the drug funding requirement further so more cancer patients can receive cancer drugs and treatments promptly. We also propose expediting the introduction of proven treatments (models) and medical equipment, such as Tumor Treating Fields, CAR-T, and discussing with stakeholders to formulate appropriate treatment models, including cancer patients and their caregivers, pharmaceutical companies and service providers.
The Cancer Strategy Concern Group has always suggested the Government to introduce an integrated, efficient and patient-oriented cancer strategy. We urge the Government to accept and implement the above-recommended measures for the sake of the health of Hong Kong citizens and help ease the suffering of cancer patients and their families.
Cancer Strategy Concern Group
20 th October 2019
Convener: Mr. Samuel MAK (Tel: 9882-1717)