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The urgent need to address Hong Kong’s shortage of doctors is gathering momentum. Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee has called for a “rational discussion”.
This follows the Medical Council’s rejection of a proposal this month to make it easier for overseas doctors to work in Hong Kong. Some quarters of the medical sector are calling for a dilution of the medical watchdog’s power to smooth the way for the recruitment of foreign doctors.
“Under the circumstances, we’ve allocated more resources to the Hospital Authority so it can hire more overseas doctors through limited registration,” she told The Standard, adding “we need to unite and work together to bring in more doctors regardless of whether they were trained locally or overseas.”
According to Mary Ma in her open-ed column in the same newspaper: “To some extent, the hurdle created by the Medical Council is responsible for the exorbitant costs involved in seeing private doctors here. (Hong Kong) has not been producing enough doctors to meet rising local demand.”
Chan added that another possible solution to address the shortfall would be to allow doctors with less experience – such as fresh medical graduates – to receive extra training to enable them to become specialists.