Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Already Taking a Stand

Chief Executive-elect Leung Chun-ying has already made his views known on the issue of mainland women crossing the border to have children in Hong Kong.

He said yesterday that mainland women who do not have a Hong Kong husband will not be allowed to give birth in private hospitals next year. Leung added children born of mainland parents would not be guaranteed residency in the city.

"The Hong Kong community has come to a common consensus that, no matter whether we use administrative measures or seek legal methods, these non-locals' babies should not become permanent residents," he said.

His quota of "zero" mainland births in private hospitals has shocked hospital bosses because many of them have invested heavily in obstetrics, poaching doctors from public hospitals and the latest medical technology and services to cash in on mainlanders coming here with fat wallets to have children.

Leung even added, "Providing obstetric services to mainland women is not the correct way to develop the medical industry."

That was a major 180-degree turn from current Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen who had said medicine was one of the six key industries in Hong Kong.

Leung's comments have already won the praise of many Hong Kong legislators, pleased to have an incoming leader who has very definite ideas, and is looking out for the best interests of Hong Kong people.

Meanwhile private hospitals are worried the sudden halt of mainlanders coming here to give birth will cripple their operating costs and are proposing a gradual decrease in the next few years.

Dr Alan Lau Kwok-lam, chairman of the Private Hospitals' Association, said some hospitals may face some closures if they are banned from serving mainland women, thus revealing their revenue model. He projects hospitals will lose 28,000 patients a year if "transit mums" (mothers without a Hong Kong husband or are not local residents) are banned from giving birth here.

Perhaps there is some wiggle room in the timeline, but it seems Leung is intent on putting an end to this loophole once and for all.

This should win confidence is many Hong Kong people who are fed up with mainlanders stretching the city's health care facilities to the limit.

We just need to wait until July 1 when Leung takes over..

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