Diluted status seen as negative for return of non-local doctors

Local | 28 May 2021 11:22 am

A former Medical Association president says he doubts any Hongkongers who trained overseas as doctors would want to return under a new government policy, saying the social status of doctors has diminished in light of the recent political reform.

David Fang told an RTHK program on Friday that he welcomes the government’s proposal to allow non-locally trained doctors to practise without passing Hong Kong professional exams, but said the scheme’s attractiveness would be “extremely limited.”

“Our functional constituency seat in the legislature will be scrapped. Our 30 seats in the [chief executive] election committee has been cancelled, and will be incorporated with the health service sector, while the 30 seats for Chinese medicine practitioners will remain. Isn’t that lowering doctors’ social status?” Fang questioned.

He said the changes have hurt morale and the profession’s autonomy.

But Hospital Authority chief executive Tony Ko said on the same program that he believes the policy will still attract doctors, because public hospitals are very good training grounds.

He dismissed concerns that recruiting doctors without requiring them to take an entry exam would undermine Hong Kong’s healthcare system, because their superiors will observe their clinical performance.

“They will look at how the doctors handle the patients, in other words their day-to-day performance,” Ko said.

“Under this scheme, even if a doctor is already a specialist overseas, he has to gain recognition from Hong Kong’s relevant authorities, and he still has to work in the public healthcare system in which our colleagues will be observing his performance directly for five years. Under such a stringent mechanism, I think the assessment will definitely be better than a single exam.”

A bill to enable the overseas doctors plan will be tabled to Legco next week.-Photo: RTHK



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