"My main objective is to make sure the Hospital Authority
is financially sustainable, people have access to services in a timely fashion, the services are high quality, and that we are prepared for any outbreak of bird flu," Shane Solomon
told reporters upon arriving at the airport Tuesday.
, an Australian, admits he
has received a private briefing on the budget situation, he
said it is "a bit early" to discuss details with the public, insisting he
needs more time to "talk with other people."Solomon
does not rule out plans to cut jobs as a means of reducing the estimated HK$300 million deficit.
"It's very important to have the right management team in the Hospital Authority
, and I don't know the management team yet, so I'm very keen to meet them and form a view about them after I've talked with them and understood what they've done."He
said while he
is "confident" he
can solve the budget problems, he
admits it will be "very difficult."He
said: "It's very important to maintain service levels, and not just cut staff." Solomon
pointed out that he
had increased staff during his
term as executive director of the public Metropolitan Health
and Aged Care Services in Victoria.
The leadership of the Hospital Authority
has been in disarray since top officials stepped down in the wake of what was deemed a too slow response to the SARS outbreak in 2003 that killed 299 local people. Solomon, an administrator rather than a medical professional, was chosen for the post over seven other candidates, in part for his role in reforming Victoria's health system by improving access to emergency departments and balancing the budget. Authority chairman Anthony Wu said despite a lack of education or experience as a medical practitioner, Solomon could boost staff morale by training second-tier staff to sustain management continuity, which the authority did little of in the past.
was reluctant Tuesday to disclose any concrete plans for reform.
"While I have come with some ideas from what was achieved in Australia, I don't know what the Hong Kong culture will allow us to do," he
"How we do it will have to be the Hong Kong way, not the Australian way."Solomon
will officially assume the post on March 1.