He's a jolly good (medical) fellow

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2011, 12:00am


It's a medical qualification recognised in the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and even on the mainland. Now it will finally be recognised in Hong Kong.

A top medic was backed by the High Court yesterday in his fight to list himself as a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology (FACC).

And the ruling in favour of Dr Lau Yuk-kong (pictured) may have implications for other professionals seeking recognition for overseas qualifications. The Court of First Instance said it was wrong for the Medical Council to refuse to include the title as a 'quotable qualification'.

Lau, past chairman of the Hong Kong Public Hospitals Cardiologist Association, said about 10 local doctors also held the credential.

His victory is a breakthrough for local medical circles, which he said were less receptive to qualifications gained outside Britain because of the city's colonial background. A document showing that FACC was recognised worldwide was produced in court. It ordered the council to approve the application for its inclusion on the qualifications list and pay legal costs to Lau.

Lau said of the decision: 'Hong Kong should be an international city whose medical sector goes in line with international standards.

'FACC is one of the most prestigious titles in the field. Historical factors should not stand in the way ... previous prejudice and close-mindedness should be rectified.'

Lau first applied to the Medical Council for inclusion of the qualification in 2005. The council refused his application and threw out his appeal on the grounds it was not a specialist qualification. It said the attainment of the FACC did not require an examination pass and was therefore not 'formally assessed'.

As a last resort, Lau, who was made an FACC in 1997 and is qualified to practise in Hong Kong and California, lodged a judicial review.

Madam Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling wrote in the judgment that the council could not say the fellowship - granted to a doctor who had six years of full-time postgraduate training, passed two US national exams and had 18 months' experience in speciality practice - was something short of a formal assessment.