HK folk there prefer to see city medics: minister A Hong Kong delegation asked Beijing officials yesterday to consider making it easier for the city's doctors to practise on the mainland. Health minister York Chow Yat-ngok, who led the group of doctors and officials, said many Hong Kong people were now working or living on the mainland. They were more familiar with medical practices in Hong Kong and would prefer to be treated by doctors from the city. 'We asked if there is any policy that can help doctors practise more easily on the mainland and mentioned the need for this,' Dr Chow said. He was speaking after a meeting with Health Minister Gao Qiang. Dr Chow also attended a lunch hosted by the ministry, at which Mr Gao was not present. Dr Chow suggested mainlanders seeking treatment in Hong Kong be referred by mainland hospitals or doctors for better care when they returned home. Ways of strengthening co-operation among professional associations and reviewing the practice on advertising in the two places were also discussed. Dr Chow did not say what the Beijing officials' response was. But another delegation member, Medical Association vice-president Louis Shih Tai-cho, said he was impressed by Mr Gao's attentiveness to 'all the issues that we raised'. Dr Chow said the meeting did not cover plans by the Hospital Authority to raise maternity fees for pregnant mainland women to deter them from using public hospital services. 'It is not purely a medical question but is a population policy issue as well,' he said. Dr Shih said delegation members suggested various ways of promoting the exchange of medical expertise and patients. He said that with the city's ageing population, more elderly Hongkongers would be retiring on the mainland but would want to see their own doctors. 'We will not be taking away jobs from doctors in the mainland,' he said. 'Rather we will be serving the needs of Hong Kong patients.' He also hoped Hong Kong doctors would be allowed to advertise on the mainland. Under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, Hong Kong doctors can get a three-year licence on the mainland without sitting for an exam if they are employed by medical institutions. Medical legislator Kwok Ka-ki, who was not part of the delegation, hopes the visit will lead to more city doctors working on the mainland. Dr Chow said he and Mr Gao agreed to try their best to support the bid by former city director of health Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun to become director-general of the World Health Organisation.