The outgoing chairman of the Hospital Authority Anthony Wu Ting-yuk said on Friday the government should push for the import of overseas doctors in order to resolve the city's shortage of medical manpower.
Speaking on a morning Metro Radio programme, Wu said he understood the option to recruit medical practitioners from overseas was unpopular with local doctors.
But he said he would continue to advocate in favour of the option, which he believed to be the only solution to a chronic lack of human resources.
“Of course there will be some groups going against the idea,” Wu said. “But this is solely for the service of the citizens.”
“Even as a normal citizen [after stepping down], I will continue to speak out on the matter.”
The city is short of more than 200 doctors in the public sector. The problem will not begin to ease until 2015, when the number of new medics graduating from college should rise from 250 a year to about 400.
Wu raised a similar suggestion in 2011, and it triggered a major crisis in his career at the Hospital Authority.
The Medical Council and frontline doctors demanded his resignation after he suggested qualified doctors from overseas should be permitted to practise in Hong Kong without having to sit the licensing examinations.
Wu is due to step down this month after leading the Hospital Authority for nine years.
Open University president John Leong Chi-yan will replace him from December.