Chief Executive John Lee said that the government has the responsibility to support caregivers, and pledged to provide the resources and backing needed, after two brothers reportedly starved to death after their mother was taken into hospital.
The two middle-aged men, who are said to have had intellectual disabilities, were found dead in a flat in Sau Mau Ping on Friday.
Speaking after returning to Hong Kong from Hangzhou, Lee said society as a whole can play an important role in social welfare.
"In our social welfare network, there are many NGOs in the social welfare sector that are providing services," he said, adding that the government will provide sufficient resources to them.
Lee added that while district care teams can identify those who did not seek help and offer them support, mutual help within the neighbourhood is also important.
Acting Chief Executive Eric Chan, for his part, said he hopes the care teams under the administration's new “Care the Carers Campaign” can help spot problem cases.
"We hope that in the future, the care teams can conduct more visits so that they can identify and provide services for those who are hidden but need assistance,” he said.
Labour minister Chris Sun said the Social Welfare Department, Hospital Authority and social welfare organisations will find ways to boost communication.
A number of lawmakers also weighed in, urging the government to provide more support to carers.
Legislator Doreen Kong proposed classifying caregivers according to risk levels, so those considered high-risk can get more timely support.
She also said the government needs to develop a cross-departmental plan, which includes promptly referring cases between the Hospital Authority and Social Welfare Department where necessary.
"I must say that in Hong Kong, we do not have a very comprehensive and integrated policy that actually can cater for the needs of the caregivers and persons with disabilities," Kong said.
Third Side lawmaker Tik Chi-yuen, meanwhile, called for greater cooperation between hospitals and welfare organisations to help ease the burden of caregivers.
Legislator and registered social worker Connie Lam said the “Care the Carers Campaign” is a good move, but more needs to be done.
"We all feel that this campaign, with a budget of 150 million placed in the community, is a step forward. However, while the promotion aspect is good, it is crucial to consider how it can be effectively implemented at the regional level," Lam said.
Last updated: 2023-09-25 HKT 19:33