Sophia Chan supports revisiting foreign doctors issueLocal | 11 Apr 2019 4:37 pm
Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee says the government welcomes any plan that would make it easier for foreign doctors to work in Hong Kong, as the Medical Council moves to restart discussions on various proposals that it rejected just last week, RTHK reports.
The council's rejection of relaxed internship requirements for overseas doctors was met with a fierce backlash from the public and the government. The council was accused of turning a blind eye to the staff shortage in public hospitals.
The chairman of the council, Joseph Lau, said today that he hopes to bring the issue back to the table again during next month’s meeting. He also suggested that members could cast open – rather than secret – ballots next time, to boost transparency.
The health chief, for her part, told RTHK's Candice Wong that she welcomes the move, adding that the government will continue to do what it can to tackle the staff crunch.
"What they [the Medical Council] are proposing is but a small step in attracting overseas doctors," Chan said. "So we will pursue other measures, such as providing more resources to the Hospital Authority to hire more limited registration doctors – those that may not be specialists but may be intermediate and also the different levels of doctors... we should attract those people as well."
Meanwhile, DAB lawmaker Elizabeth Quat said the government should consider taking back control of the council, to prevent what she described as the "professional dominance" of the sector.
But Roundtable councillor Michael Tien rejected Quat's suggestion, saying it is important to have a professional body overseeing the needs of the medical sector and its development.-Photo: RTHK