Formal exam is necessary

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 October, 1997, 12:00am

I refer to the letter headlined, 'Closed shop afflicts patients' right to choose' (South China Morning Post, October 7).

It is the intention of a proposed by-law amendment that any doctor will be required to sit an exit examination or assessment before he or she becomes a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine.

I must point out that the Medical Registration Ordinance allows all those who are recognised by the academy as having comparable training and qualifications to register as specialists. That means a doctor does not have to be a Fellow of the Academy of Medicine to practise as a specialist in Hong Kong.

The academy will continue to recognise comparable training and qualifications obtained elsewhere for the purpose of specialist registration by the Medical Council.

However, to become an academy fellow one will have to pass the final examination or formal assessment of an academy college. Any doctor, whether trained locally or abroad, will sit the same examination in a specialty, so that there can be no question of running a closed shop.

As a statutory body granting specialist medical qualifications, the Academy of Medicine has the responsibility to set and to assess the standard of specialist training in Hong Kong. A formal examination or assessment is necessary in order to ensure that all our fellows have attained a prescribed standard that is appropriate for Hong Kong.

A similar situation exists abroad where any candidate has to pass the final examination of a college or board before obtaining the relevant diploma or certificate.

Equally, the relevant licensing authority, for example, the General Medical Council, may allow foreign doctors who hold equivalent qualifications to practise as specialists.

The academy recognises training and qualifications in many countries and we are much more open than our counterparts in most of these countries.

Numerous foreign trained specialists recognised by the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine practise here and I would like to reassure your readers that patients will continue to have the right to choose their specialists in future.

Dr DAVID FANG President Hong Kong Academy of Medicine