Overseas specialist doctors could be allowed to come to the city even if they are not Hong Kong residents, the government proposed.
Under an earlier bill tabled to the Legislative Council proposing an amendment to the Medical Registration Ordinance, Hong Kong residents who have trained as doctors in fewer than 100 recognized overseas institutions will be able to practice in the city once they have worked in public institutions for five years after securing their specialist qualifications.
The amendment aims to alleviate the shortage of doctors in the city. It is foreseen that by 2030, there will be a severe shortfall of 3,244 medical personnel.
In a press conference today, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee proposed several changes for the bill.
The first will allow overseas specialists to join the scheme, on top of Hong Kong permanent residents trained overseas. They should have a specialist qualification recognized by Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, but do not have to come from the list of 100 medical schools suggested earlier.
“The aim is to recruit more eligible non-local doctors, especially specialists,” she said. “If we want to solve long queuing time for hospital services, specialists are needed.”
Lawmaker Tommy Cheung Yu-yan proposed to remove the HK resident requirement for the bill, thereby allowing foreign-trained doctors to come to Hong Kong regardless of their residency.
Chan said the government hopes to strike a balance, only relaxing the requirement for specialist doctors instead of all doctors.
The second change she proposed is to allow overseas medical students who have yet to undergo internships to do them to Hong Kong, along with their exams.
The government aims to see the amendment bill pass before the current LegCo year ends on October 30.