"Exposing the cracks": Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the Hong Kong health system.

Abstract:

PURPOSE:Hong Kong was particularly affected by the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). During the epidemic, it seemed as if the Hong Kong government and health system were barely coping, leading to calls of mismanagement and governance incapacity. In the wake of the SARS outbreak, two inquiries were conducted. The purpose of this article is to review the Hong Kong's response to SARS from the perspective of two inquiries. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH:An historical analysis of the institutional arrangements for health care delivery in Hong Kong is undertaken, followed by a chronology of developments in the SARS outbreak. The article then reviews outbreak management and the findings of the two inquiries. Finally, it considers whether the Hong Kong health system can be reformed to manage any future infectious disease epidemic better. FINDINGS:Both leadership and coherency were lacking in Hong Kong's response to SARS. These are age-old problems in the Hong Kong health sector. The prospects for mending the health system appear limited, given that leadership and coherency have been consistently absent features of post-1997 governance in Hong Kong. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS:This article reviews events in the immediate period following the SARS outbreak. A future follow-up study of the Hong Kong government and health system's capacity to respond to infectious disease outbreaks would be useful. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS:This article provides a review that will be useful to policymakers and researchers. ORIGINALITY/VALUE:No other article reviews the Hong Kong health system's SARS response.

journal_name

J Health Organ Manag

authors

Gauld R

doi

10.1108/14777260510600031

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2005-01-01 00:00:00

pages

106-19

issue

2

eissn

1477-7266

issn

1758-7247

journal_volume

19

pub_type

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