Fifty Hong Kong doctors would be allowed to set up outpatient clinics in the Pearl River Delta by the end of the year, a senior Guangdong health official said yesterday. But Yao Zhibin, head of the province's department of health, said Hong Kong doctors would have to satisfy a set of requirements before practising on the mainland. Guangdong would start accepting applications possibly within two months, Mr Yao said. He expected the first applications would lead to the establishment of 50 clinics by the end of the year and believed that the quota would be expanded. The supplement to the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement announced last summer states that Hong Kong doctors can set up wholly owned outpatient clinics in the province with no total investment requirement. The qualified doctors can obtain mainland medical practitioner qualification certificates through accreditation. The previous Cepa arrangement required a minimum joint-venture investment of 10 million yuan (HK$11.36 million), and the response was poor. Mr Yao said: 'There are quite a number of things we have to work out, such as how many years of medical experience the doctors should have, how big the clinic's size should be. Shenzhen may have requirements that the doctors must rent houses there.' He said a team of health officials from different cities would visit Hong Kong soon to meet doctors. 'Hopefully, we will be able to draw up the details after the visit and open applications in one to two months,' he said. Hong Kong Doctors' Union president Henry Yeung Chiu-fat said he hoped the process could be clarified as soon as possible.