Daily Information Bulletin - 1960s - 1963 - SEP - ENG

 4000081 P.R.H. 7





Tuesday, September 10, 1963


Address By H.E. The Governor

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following is the full text of the speech by His Excellency the

Governor, Sir Robert Black, G.G.M.G., O.B.E., at the opening of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kingis Park, Kowloon, today (Tuesday):

”His Royal Highness Prince Philip said, when lie was here in 1959,

that he was always a bit suspicious about foundation stones and he referred

to the city which discovered that it had omitted to get on with the job of building the town hall for which a foundation stone had been well and truly laid 50 years before. Prince Philip, however, went on to express the belief that this would not happen with the stone he was going to lay for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and here, in the promised year, is that hospital.

’’This is a veiy Great Lay in the history of the Medical Lepartment in Hong Kong and a far czy from the first makeshift Government hospital built on the Island in 1846. It is a notable day for Lr. Mackenzie and hi a colleagues, both in his own Lepartment and outside of it, Official and Unofficial, who have been associated with the construction.

”Lr. Mackenzie lias told the story, proudly and comprehensively, of the planning and building of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and he has made the appropriate acloiowledgements to the many who have participated in the project. I shall not go over this ground again at length; but I endorse the acknowledgements he has made, the tributes he has paid, and I add my warmest appreciation to that which he has expressed.


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’’For personal reasons, apart from official ones, I am delighted, to be the one who declares open this Hospital, because I have an association with it back to 1952, when I was Colonial Secretary. It is heart-warning to see the materialisation of schemes and plans, of blue-prints and the ideas bom of discussions in smoke-filled rooms; there is a nostalgia in the recollection of the periods of anxiety and relief, of the moments of despair and hope, and of the consciousness throughout of the undercurrent of urgency which was the community’s need,

’’Now the Queen Elizabeth Hospital stands four square in the centre • • • * *

of Kowloon. It has cost $70,JOO, 000. It is the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth with 1,558 beds. It is completely up-to-date, with a full range of the most modem means of treatment.

”1 do not propose to go into this in detail; there is a brochure for this purpose: but I do draw attention to the very largo Casualty Department for emergency cases, the Specialist Clinic (generously donated by the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club) to deal with those cases referred for consultant’s opinion, the Radiological Institute, for which the Jockey Club has donated $6 million to cover the cost of equipment and to contribute towards the cost of the Institute.”

Newest Equipment

’’This institute is a self-contained unit within the hospital structure, and it will contain the newest equipment available for the treatment of cancer and the most recent diagnostic facilities.

”In this connexion I might add that I have recently accepted an invitation from Dr. H.C. Ho and his colleagues to become Patron of the recently-formed Anti-Cancer Society in Hong Kong, and we should find encouragement in this promise of development in the work undertaken to fight cancer.

’’During the hospital’s construction we have been fortunate in



our expert advice, There were consultations with the Duffield Hospitals Trust, and then we engaged a firm of architects expert in designing hospitals, Messrs. Easton and Robertson, and I am glad that we have one of the partners of that firm with us today, Mr. Cusdin,

"I am sure, as Dr, Mackenzie has said, that he and his partners will be well satisfied with this fine hospital.

"And, then, you have heard the Director’s relation of the part which the University’s Faculty of Medicine and Government’s own Clinical Specialists have played, of the work of Miss Schofield, Principal Matron, and her staff in the training of nurses, of the operational role of Dr. Hollway and his colleagues in association with Mr. Hirst and Wong and their colleagues in the Public Works Department who, in turn, have been able to draw on the resources and skill of the contractors.

’’You have heard his tribute to what he called ’the legion of the unnamed’, all who, in some way or other, have helped to determine the shape and content, nay, the very existence of these buildings. And there have been the Unofficial members of Finance Committee, who have rendered such invaluable service both on the original Interdepartmental Committee and on the subsequent Kowloon Hospital Progress Committee, which were formed when I was Colonial Secretary.

"Lastly, do not let us forget the officers in the Colonial Secretariat, who have been involved throughout; their work lias been essential and devoted."

Proud Achievement

’’To all of them Hong Kong is grateful. We can view this achievement with pride and satisfaction, but certainly not with complacency.

“The opening of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is an important event in the history of medical services in Hong Kong, but we must see in this a stimulus, see it as an opened gate, through which we pass on at once, rather than as a stile on which, having climbed, we rest awhile.


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"This hospital came into being on its present site and in its present form to redress a balance. In 1952, the general bed accommodation in Kowloon and the New Territories amounted to not more than 1.2 beds of all categories for each 1,000. On Hong Kong Island the ratio was better, being 2.6.

“To bring the ratio on this side nearer to that on the Island we required an additional 1,200 beds, and it was this figure which eventually fixed the size of the hospital. But, in the interval, the population of the Colony has risen markedly.

"In 1952 we gave, as an approximate estimate of our population, the figure of 2% million souls. Today the number exceeds J-g- million, due both to natural increase and to the continuing influx of new residents, and, as you know, last year we believe that the great onset of illegal immigration led to an increase in our numbers by about 140,000."

Delicate Economy

"It always comes back to this: our problem of people. We pay our own way in Hong Kong. Our eoonony is delicately balanced and we are dependent on the goodwill of the consumer abroad, and we have to relate what we do to what we can afford.

"Against this background, the mounting numbers of people who, annually, join our community, illustrate the difficulty for us of keeping up with the provision of existing social services, quite apart from that of forging ahead and then remaining in front of our needs.

"It is the pattern. It is the problem we face in housing and schools. It is the problem we face in the reclamation and provision of land for development.

"It is sad but true that there are too few people in the world who recognise how unique is Hong Kongrs situation in so many respects, and that this situation is one which calls for understanding and practical support

/in the•••••

in the" self-appointed tasks of expanding our economy and of expanding our social services.”

Symbol Of Hong Kong

’’This hospital, nevertheless, is a symbol of what the people of Hong Kong have done and are doing, with imagination and resolution, despite the difficulties they encounter from day to day.

’’This hospital will give much needed relief, but this will be enly temporaiy unless succeeding hospital projects follow on. We have gained valuable experience in the planning and building of the Queen Elizabeth

■» Hospitalj this will help in future hospital development.

”We now have in Hong Kong a corpus of expertise which should be of great value in the future.

’’You are already aware of the programme of hospital building to which we are committed. The main emphasis lies in Kowloon and the New Territories for some time to come, and with this in mind, we have already begun’detailed planning for a large Government general hospital of 800 beds which we shall place between Lai Chi Kok and the new town of Kwai Chung.

“We are fortunate in the splendid work which a number of voluntary agencies are doing in the planning of additional general hospital beds, and, of course, not far from here the new’ Kwong Wah Hospital should be completed next year. To the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and to those other private voluntary agencies we are grateful and we welcome the substantial contribution which they are making.”

last Public Appearance

"Before proceeding to the final part of this ceremony, I wish to draw your attention to the fact that this is one of the last public appearances of Dr. David MacKenzie, who has been Director of Medical and Health Services in Hong Kong since the beginning of 1958• His period as Director coincides almost completely with my own period as Governor here -* * .• he arrived about a week before me.

/"He has.....

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“He has been a Director of distinction and ability, a man of integrity, dedicated to his profession and the maintenance of the highest standards within that profession. We have drawn great advantage from his ability, his energy and the extensive eicperience he brought with him.

"In the summer of 1961 cholera returned to the Colony. The community as a whole, as it invariably does on such occasions, responded splendidly and some 75 per cent of the Hong Kong population was inoculated.

"We were fortunate that the total number of deaths, tragic as the circumstances of these deaths were, was only 15, seven of which occurred before they were admitted to hospital. . -

“This was a very fine effort on the part of the Medical Department,

and throu^iout the operation it received firm and resourceful leadership from Dr. MacKenzie. And, not least amongst his achievements, is his part in bringing this hospital into being.

"I am greatly delighted that we have managed to liave this ceremony before he and his wife and family leave our shores. I thank you, Dr. LlacKenzie, for your service to us in Hong Kong, and on behalf of us all I extend.to you and to your wife, who has given you so much support throughout your period of service with us here, and your family our very best wishes for health and a happy retirement.

"Her Majesty The Queen has honoured us by allowing the use of Her Kame for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and His Hoyal Highness Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh did us great honour in laying the foundation stone in March four years ago. The hospital’s beginnings could not have been more auspicious.

"I am sure that the hospital will fulfil its promise and I extend, on behalf of my wife and myself our very best wishes to all who will serve the sick and the injured here, and to all who will come as patients for treatment•

"It is now my very great pleasure to proceed with that part of the ceremony which marks the formal opening of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital."

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