More hands on deck for public doctors and nurses

Local | Jane Cheung 15 Mar 2019

An extra 520 doctors and 2,270 nurses will be recruited this year in an attempt to ease manpower shortage in public hospitals, according to the Hospital Authority.

The authority submitted a document to the Legislative Council Panel on Health Services on its corporate governance and manpower situation.

In the paper, the authority said it has a total of 56,220 full-time staff members, 6,045 of which are doctors and 26,955 nurses.

It said the hospital operator was concerned about the lack of manpower and had produced a series of measures to strengthen its resources.

Each year, there are 420 local medical graduates available for recruitment and the number will increase to 470 in 2023 and 530 in 2026.

The paper also revealed the authority's five-year plan to enhance night supervision with an additional 625 recurrent advanced practice nurse positions, including 350 positions for advance practicing nurses and 10 nurse consultants.

The authority's chief executive Leung Pak-yin met with the Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff yesterday to address labor issues in public hospitals, in which unionists demanded the authority to hire more staff and improve salary pay scale.

An authority spokesman said it will also recruit 200 extra clerks to assist with administrative work in the wards.

Nurse association's chairman Joseph Lee Kok-long said: "We want the authority to hire more junior nurses to replenish vacancies created by the promotions, rather than maintain the number of staff at the same level."

Lee said they had exchanged views with the authority on manpower issues, salaries, allowances and roster arrangements.

"The authority promised to review the issues we discussed in detail," he said. "But we don't want them to just review the policies. We want them to announce arrangements as soon as possible."

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