Hong Kong to become 'centre of medical excellence'


Women have been flocking to Hong Kong to give birth, as the private healthcare provision tends to be better in the city than on the mainland.

Immigration Department figures suggest that 19,523 babies were born to mainlanders in Hong Kong in 2005, up from just 10,128 in 2003, China's business paper The Standard reports.

The figure seems to be rising even further, with 20,577 mainland mothers giving birth in Hong Kong during the first ten months of 2006, and the nation has decided it is time to make the most of the overseas interest in its medical services and extend facilities to accommodate more patients.

A recent report on the Economic Summit on China's 11th Five-Year Plan talks of "exploring the feasibility of setting up medical centres of excellence, promoting Hong Kong's medical services in the mainland and our neighbouring regions, and considering measures to facilitate patients from the mainland to seek medical treatment in Hong Kong".

Meanwhile, in Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's election platform last week, the incumbent Hong Kong leader commented: "The centre would, in the long run, become the focal point for medical experts, provide opportunities for the medical profession and render quality specialist medical services to the people of Hong Kong and those from the mainland and other regions."

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