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Admission of non-local doctors crucial

The Government said it is necessary to amend the Medical Registration Ordinance to create a new pathway to allow more qualified non-locally trained doctors to practise in Hong Kong's public healthcare sector to expand the city's pool of doctors.   In response to media enquiries on the proposed admission of non-locally trained Hong Kong doctors to practise in the city's public healthcare institutions, the Food & Health Bureau pointed out that it is an irrefutable fact that there is currently a shortage of doctors in Hong Kong.   For per capita doctor ratio, Hong Kong has a ratio of two doctors per 1,000 people which lags behind other advanced economies, including Singapore (2.5), Japan (2.5), the United States (2.6), the United Kingdom (3) and Australia (3.8).   The bureau said that there are insufficient doctors in the public healthcare sector.   Currently, the waiting time of specialty services in the Hospital Authority is extremely long. The waiting time for routine cases in some areas such as Medicine, Ophthalmology and Orthopaedics & Traumatology is over 100 weeks, the bureau said, adding the situation is unacceptable.   On the proposal to attract more qualified non-locally trained Hong Kong doctors to practise in public healthcare institutions, the bureau stressed that the licensing examination is not the only way to ensure the quality of doctors.   It said the proposal does not bypass the Medical Council of Hong Kong and there is a higher requirement for non-locally trained doctors.   The Government will meet representatives of the medical profession in batches starting next week and hold public consultation sessions to gauge public views.   It will then submit the Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill to the Legislative Council in the second quarter of the year.
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