Many HK doctors back Hospital Authority's overseas recruitment drive
I am a local medical graduate and a public hospital consultant physician who has worked in public hospitals for 33 years.
I wrote to these columns suggesting that the Hospital Authority should recruit overseas doctors as soon as possible to alleviate our severe doctor deficiency ('Overseas graduates must be employed in public hospitals', May 12).
Despite employing all the 250 graduating interns by this July, the authority will still have more than 200 doctor vacancies unfilled this year. Therefore, it has planned to recruit 20 overseas doctors under limited registration to fill a small part of this gap.
These overseas doctors can only work for the authority but not in the private sector. They must speak Cantonese and English, have at least three years' post-internship working experience and must hold a qualification equivalent to the intermediate examination of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine.
Unfortunately, this recruitment exercise is fiercely and publicly opposed by a number of local doctor professional associations.
The public may easily be misled to believe that our entire profession is unsympathetic to its needs. This impression is wrong.
In fact, after my letter was published, I received a lot of feedback from colleagues working in public as well as private hospitals, expressing their strong support for the authority's recruitment plan. I am, in fact, rather touched by those already working in the private sector who supported my views.
I believe the recruitment criteria are very objective. They will guarantee that the public will not be treated by substandard doctors.
Moreover, in the authority, we always work as a team and no doctors will be left to work alone without the support, help and opinion of his/her senior colleagues.
Doctors are important assets of the Hospital Authority and the community of Hong Kong. It is our intention and ambition to teach, guide and nurture all of them who work for the authority whether they graduate locally or are employed from overseas.
In the authority, a significant proportion of our colleagues are overseas graduates employed before 1997.
Many of them are now holding very important and responsible positions. This has proved that they can integrate very well into our public hospital system and our society.
Dr Paul C. M. Chang, North Point