Liberal Party and Democratic Party unite with proposal to ease doctor shortage

Plan features such measures as raising the retirement age and implementing inter-hospital patient referrals

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 5:11pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 5:11pm

In a rarely-seen partnership, a Beijing loyalist party and a pan-democrat party have united to call on the government to alleviate the shortage of doctors in public hospitals.

The Liberal Party and the Democratic Party released a proposal for improving the city’s public healthcare system at a joint press conference today.

The proposal features measures to ease the manpower shortage, including the relaxation of the licence examination for overseas doctors, bringing doctors out of retirement, raising the retirement age for doctors and implementing “cross-cluster” or inter-hospital patient referrals.

"There is room for co-operation between the Liberal Party and other pan-democrats on some livelihood issues, " said James Tien Pei-Chun, former chairman of the Beijing loyalist Liberal Party.

"But of course there are some issues where our conflicts remain. "

He stressed his party would not go against the government, but he believed the healthcare proposal was beneficial to Hong Kong and should be accepted by the Food and Health Bureau.

Tien also dismissed a suggestion that the co-operation was "retaliation" against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for failing to show up at the party’s annual dinner in December.

The Democratic Party’s Albert Ho Chun-yan said: "There is a first time for everything. "

"I believe there are issues that could unite parties across the political spectrum."

Tien and Ho said they would lobby other parties to seek support for the proposal.

They will also ask to meet Bureau officials to hear their views.