Hon Hai Group (鴻海科技集團) chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) yesterday urged the government to loosen regulations on recruiting staff for medical facilities to maintain the high quality of medical care available, while also saying that the wealthy should pay more for such care.
A series of events were held in Taipei yesterday to celebrate the third anniversary of the -establishment of National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital’s Tai Cheng Stem Cell Treatment Therapy Center. These included a memorial ceremony, a concert and a symposium on the topic of “Fighting Against Acute Myeloid Leukemia.”
Gou donated about NT$10 billion (US$33.2 million) to National Taiwan University Hospital for the construction of a cancer center and a proton therapy center for cancer treatment in 2007, after his younger brother, Kuo Tai-cheng (郭台成), died from leukemia in July of that year.
The Tai Cheng Stem Cell Treatment Therapy Center was established in 2010 with an additional donation of NT$5 billion in 2008, for biomedical engineering projects, a stem cell implant center and a preventive medicine center.
Gou fought back tears while giving a speech yesterday when hementioned his brother, saying “I am a useless brother, I couldn’t save you.”
Gou later accepted a gift from representatives of more than 100 leukemia patients who underwent stem cell implant therapy at the center.
In his speech, Gou said he was disappointed that his goal of establishing a state-of-the-art cancer center at NTU had to be put on hold because of regulations limiting the use of charitable funds and the recruitment of world class personnel.
“There is a global shortage of doctors and nurses. Isn’t this something that our government should be concerned about?” he said, adding that even as doctors and nurses become harder to find in the future, “every one of our families will still face birth, aging, illness and death.”
Gou said that the regulations should be relaxed to make it possible to invite top quality medical personnel to Taiwan, while proper incentives were necessary to ensure medical centers can retain the services of their best healthcare workers.
Moreover, instead of providing free medical care for everyone, Gou said, “The wealthy should pay more for medical care, in the same way that I have previously said they should also be taxed more heavily.”
Later, on the sidelines of the ceremony, in response to media inquiries about his opinion on the controversy over the government’s plan to relax restrictions on beef imports containing residue of the livestock feed additive ractopamine, Gou said the government should give priority to livelihood related issues and only then focus on the beef issue.
Gou said that although he supported the government’s policy, it was “stupid” that lawmakers planned to spend a week-long extra legislative session discussing the issue, when an executive order would serve the same purpose.
“That time could be used to discuss something more important, such as the nation’s medical problems or why the country is losing talented medical professionals,” Gou said.
Additional reporting by CNA