Thu, Feb 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Health minister vows to stay the course

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Newly sworn-in Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday said he would continue to carry out current policies and avoid drastic personnel changes, reiterating that the healthcare industry is part of the service industry, as health practitioners are dedicated to serve humanity.

Chen made the remarks in a meeting with the media shortly after a morning inauguration ceremony at the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Taipei.

During the ceremony, former minister of health and welfare Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延) said he was grateful that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Lin Chuan (林全) had given him the opportunity to work with the ministry’s team, saying that it had been the biggest honor of his life.

“Chen was a former deputy minister of the [former] Department of Health and drafted the white paper for the Tsai administration’s medical policies, so he is very familiar with policies and operations,” Lin Tzou-yien said. “He is also skilled at cross-discipline communication and a very appropriate person for the job.”

Lin Tzou-yien said that over the past four months he had focused on managing progress of the “long-term care services program 2.0,” but added that there remain tasks that Chen must complete, including the establishment of the program’s information system, as well as changes to the National Health Insurance and drug addiction prevention programs.

Integration between the social welfare and healthcare sectors is critical to the success of the long-term care program, he said, urging people in related agencies to put aside departmental selfishness and cooperate to create a ministry.

Asked by reporters if he would carry out Lin Tzou-yien’s plan to establish a specialized department to execute long-term care policies, Chen said that as his basic plan is to “continue policies, but strive for personnel stability,” he would prefer to operate in the existing organizational framework for now.

Regarding an earlier remark about the healthcare industry being a part of the services industry, which triggered criticism from medical professionals, Chen quoted the Declaration of Geneva (commonly known as the Physician’s Oath): “I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity” and said that medical fees are listed as “healthcare and social work services” in the government’s occupational classification.

Minister of Labor Lin Mei-chu (林美珠), Council of Agriculture Minister Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) and Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) were also sworn in at the event.

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