Many scholars who research on local history believe that the history of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGHs) forms an important part of Hong Kong’s societal development. From the early development of Hong Kong until today, the Group has been providing the much needed welfare services for the community, such as free medication, education and burial for the underclass and relief for victims of natural calamities.
Established in 1870, the Tung Wah Hospital (the group’s pioneering operation) is widely recognized as the first hospital in China having adopted western hospital mode in providing Chinese medicine services. Later, Tung Wah Hospital gradually replaced the Man Mo Temple’s leading role to arbitrate in disputes in the local community.
In 1880, the hospital established free schools, which eventually adopted modern teaching methods in the 1920s and 1930s, was recognized as one of the leading organizations that provided education for children in poverty. TWGHs had essentially transcended the limitations embedded in traditional social practices such as indigenous norms, ancestral roots, dialects etc., and had developed organizational features of a charitable body unique to the colonially ruled territory.
In addition, the Tung Wah Coffin Home had since the 19th century been delivering a distinctive welfare service in Hong Kong – bone repatriation services for Chinese abroad, which signifies the reputation that TWGHs had enjoyed worldwide. From all these, we can see that the development of the Group play an important role in the development of Hong Kong’s medical, education and community services.
Since its establishment in 1870, TWGHs has been all along upholding its mission “To heal the sick and to relieve the distressed; to care for the elderly and to rehabilitate the disabled; to promote education and to nurture youngsters; and to raise the infants and to guide the children.” Nowadays, TWGHs is the largest charitable organisation with the longest history in Hong Kong. For one and a half centuries, TWGHs has persistently pioneered and marked significant milestones in medical and health, education and community services, to fulfill the needs of the society and to provide the public with high quality services at low rates or for free. Today, TWGHs operates 343 services units, including 5 hospitals and 34 Chinese and Western medicine services units, 57 education services units, 225 community services units that cover elderly, youth and family, rehabilitation, social enterprises and social innovation services. The Tung Wah Museum and TWGHs Maisy Ho Archives and Relics Centre, which were established to promote, restore and preserve the heritage and relics of TWGHs, with an aim to protect and preserve local traditional culture. In addition, TWGHs has provided 2 aspects of traditional services through 20 service units, including funeral, temple and ritualistic, as well as coffin home services, fulfilling the aspirations of worshippers and the needs of the local community on funeral and burial services as well as the related facilities, while promoting traditional customs and preserving local culture at the same time.
TWGHs has 39 medical and health service units, providing Chinese and Western medicine services, health screening and elderly health services. The Board of Directors takes an active role in the management of 5 hospitals through the Hospital Governing Committees, including Tung Wah Hospital, Kwong Wah Hospital, Tung Wah Eastern Hospital, TWGHs Wong Tai Sin Hospital, and TWGHs Fung Yiu King Hospital. These 5 Hospitals provide 2,682 beds in total.
Other medical and health services and Chinese medicine services provided by TWGHs include 5 Chinese medicine clinical centres located in Kwong Wah Hospital (The Centre originally located at Kwong Wah Hospital (KWH) has been relocated to Tung Po Court, Reclamation Street, Yaumatei to cater for the redevelopment of KWH.), Tung Wah Hospital, TWGHs Wong Tai Sin Hospital, Tung Wah Eastern Hospital and Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, 5 integrated Chinese and Western medicine treatment centres/service units, 1 centre of integrated health management, 2 Chinese medicine mobile clinics, 2 community Chinese medicine clinics, 1 Chinese medicine control centre, 1 Chinese medicine outreaching service unit, 1 centralised decoction centre, 2 Chinese medicine general outpatient clinics, 2 well women clinics, 1 integrated diagnostic and medical centre, 1 computed tomography imaging centre, 1 endoscopy centre, 1 haemodialysis centre, 2 rehabilitation centres, 3 dental clinics, 3 establishments in support of dental services for persons with intellectual disability, outreaching dental services for the elderly and outreaching medical services for elderly respectively.
Since TWGHs opened its first free school at Man Mo Temple in 1880, the Group has been providing education services for the community in pace with the city’s growth. As a well-established sponsoring body in the territory, today TWGHs runs 18 secondary schools, 14 primary schools, 17 kindergartens, and 2 special schools, all bearing the same motto “Diligence, Frugality, Loyalty, and Trustworthiness”. TWGHs Ho Yuk Ching Educational Psychology Services Centre was set up to provide much-needed educational psychology services for students with special education needs.
Incorporated Management Committees were formed in all TWGHs–aided schools to allow more stakeholders to take part in school administration, thus promoting a higher degree of transparency and accountability, and enhancing sustainability in the development of schools. To cope with the demand for tertiary education, TWGHs established Tung Wah College (TWC), a self-financing tertiary institution, to provide quality tertiary education, so as to nurture talents that can meet societal needs. In 2011, TWC was approved and registered at the Education Bureau under the Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance (cap 320) as a degree-awarding institution. Since its establishment, TWC has nurtured over 2,000 graduates.
With 225 community service units, including 66 elderly service units, 80 youth and family service units, 52 rehabilitation service units, 27 social enterprises and social innovation service units. TWGHs provides a spectrum of social welfare services for families, children and youths, the elderly, and the disabled, in harmony with the Group’s commitment to “Quality Care, Holistic Development” for communities in Hong Kong.
In terms of administrative structure, the Board of Directors is the governing body assisted by various committees, each overseeing a particular function or service. The Administration Headquarters comprises 11 Divisions, namely Medical Division, Education Division, Community Services Division, Property Division, Fund-raising Division, Board and Corporate Administration Division, Finance & Supplies Division, Human Resources Division, Information Technology Division, Corporate Communications Division and Audit Division, as well as Records and Heritage Office and Traditional Services Section, with the Chief Executive as head of the administration.
Each Member of the Board serves a one-year tenure with no remunerations. By introducing their social network and experience into the Group, Members of the Board successfully mobilize people from different sectors to support fund-raising activities and enhance the Group’s development; hence creating social capitals for Hong Kong to build a harmonious and mutually supportive society.
Taking into consideration of the growth of our services, the Group endeavours to optimize the utilization of government and community resources in a sound and open administrative structure. The Board also strives to strengthen TWGHs’ corporate governance, enhance transparency and accountability to attract support from more donors.
Apart from receiving government subsidies, each year TWGHs also organizes numerous fund-raising activities to raise a colossal amount of funds to cover the cost of providing free medical service and the capital cost of expanding various much needed services. Expenditures for Fund-raising events and administration & supporting functions are fully financed by TWGHs Board of Directors/Title Patrons and operating income respectively. No event and administrative costs will be deducted from donations of the general public, which as usual will go to the Group’s services for the benefit of the community. Looking to the future, the Group will continue to provide various much needed services for our community in step with the times.
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