Despite its overpopulation, Hong Kong faces a shortage of doctors. To address this lack of frontline workers, Hong Kong’s government has issued a scheme to allow foreign workers to practice in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has been experiencing a shortage of doctors and other medical staff in the public sector. As a solution to this, the city’s Health Secretary Sophia Chan announced that Hong Kong is working to release a contentious plan allowing foreign doctors to practice in Hong Kong.
Chan shared the government’s plans to propose approval for non-local doctors who hold specialist qualifications to reside and work in the city. Although they would not have completed the traditional compulsory exam provided by Hong Kong to local doctors, under this new scheme, they would be able to hold medical staff jobs in Hong Kong.
When first announced, this new scheme only allowed for overseas-trained Hong Kong residents to work in Hong Kong. However, even this initial structure of the scheme has faced high levels of backlash from many local medical workers. The local medical sector argued the injustice and worried about the possible decrease in health care standards in the city. Apart from concerns about the quality of medical care being provided, some people believe the passing of this scheme by the government is the initial step to replacing Hong Kong doctors with those from China. This uncertainty and worry has caused deeper distrust regarding health and safety standards.
Despite the public’s concerns, Chan dismissed claims from legislation about lowered standards. She reassured the outcries and claimed that they “are very careful about ensuring the quality of these doctors.”
The bustling city has a severe problem of doctor shortages with a per capita ratio of one doctor per 500 people. As a result, Hong Kong falls behind other economies in Asia and globally. The city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam hopes the medical sector and current workers will accept and support the new scheme.
Featured banner image: by Sam Tsang via scmp.com