A group of family medicine experts has urged the government to provide financial incentives for experienced private family doctors to hire young practitioners and train them at their own clinics.
The president of the College of Family Physicians, Donald Li Kwok-tung, says while the Hospital Authority lacks the resources for training family doctors at public hospitals, private doctors can share the responsibilities.
Only four private family medicine specialists employ trainees at their clinics. Dr Li is one. He hired a trainee doctor in 2000.
After his four years of training and practice at Dr Li's clinic, the young doctor will become a specialist by the end of this year. He is still practising with Dr Li in Central.
'Although you have additional manpower to help you in the clinic, you have to share your patients with that doctor and you need to supervise all the work he does,' Dr Li says. 'You also have to pay him a salary. It is not an easy task at all. I have done it because it is a very rewarding experience to train up a young doctor with your own hands.'
Dr Li says more private specialists are likely to be willing to train their young colleagues if they have some form of financial assistance.