Physiotherapists fall well short of demand

Local | 12 Aug 2020 4:14 pm

Hong Kong is lagging far behind advanced countries in terms of “essential” physiotherapists, experts said today, adding that government estimates of the shortage the city faces in future are likely off the mark, RTHK reports.

The Polytechnic University’s department of rehabilitation sciences said demand for occupational therapists and physiotherapists is huge – particularly as the population ages.

The government has previously estimated that there will be a shortfall of about 190 occupational therapists and 900 physiotherapists by 2030, but the university believes the true figure could be higher.

Professor Hector Tsang, who heads the department, says Hong Kong only has around 20 to 25 occupational therapists for every 100,000 people who live here – around half that of advanced western countries.

Heep Hong society – an NGO that offers rehabilitation services – said it’s not just the elderly who need the help of physiotherapists.

Chief Executive Peter Auyeung said many children with various conditions also need rehab services from a very young age.

“More and more parents are alert and aware of their children’s disability so they hope to have early intervention as early as possible”, he noted.

“This is another reason for having higher demand for rehabilitation services, including the pre-school rehabilitation services.”

Auyeung said he thinks physiotherapists and occupational therapists are “essential staff” for centres offering rehabilitation services.

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