Hong Kong facing shortage of healthcare professionals as population ages
MELBOURNE - In common with other developed economies, challenges facing Hong Kong's healthcare system include a fast-ageing population and an exponential increase in demand for public healthcare services, Hong Kong's Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, told healthcare professionals in Melbourne today.
She said a Strategic Review had indicated a general shortage of doctors, dentists, dental hygienists, general nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, medical laboratory technologists, optometrists and radiographers.
"The Government has substantially increased the number of healthcare-related training places by about 60% (from about 1,150 to about 1,800) in the past decade," she said.
"It will further increase the number of healthcare-related publicly funded first-degree intake places in the next three years."
Prof. Chan said the Strategic Review determined that locally-trained healthcare professionals should continue to be the bedrock of Hong Kong's healthcare workforce, but locally-trained manpower should be supplemented as necessary by qualified, non-local professionals.
"Hong Kong is now in general shortage of healthcare professionals and we welcome qualified healthcare professionals to join us," she said.
"You will find there are abundant opportunities for treatment and training, even for complex and rare medical cases."
For doctors and nurses, she said, full registration was granted to non-locally trained professionals through licensing examinations.
"The Medical Council of Hong Kong and the Nursing Council of Hong Kong have increased the frequency of licensing examinations and, where appropriate, introduced more flexibility for internship arrangement."
For physiotherapists and occupational therapists, non-locally trained professionals could gain full registration without licensing examination through recognised qualifications, she added.