Letters to the Editor, February 27, 2018

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2018, 4:40pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2018, 4:40pm

Liver surgeon’s account tells of doctor shortage

I refer to your editorial on the University of Hong Kong’s decision not to ­renew the contract of Dr Kelvin Ng Kwok-chai, the liver transplant specialist who left a waiting recipient with an opened abdomen on the operating table for three hours, to attend to a ­patient at a private hospital.

The last line of the editorial asks the most important question, “whether patient safety is really best served by the medical profession’s opposition to recruiting more doctors trained overseas”.

The director of Queen Mary Hospital’s liver transplant centre said Dr Ng’s departure was a pity and a loss to the public medical sector. But the real issue, as you point out, is the chronic shortage of doctors, the reason Ng was practising publicly as well as ­privately in the first place.

We certainly need more medical staff and certainly could get more experienced staff from overseas, as in the past, and in the shorter term on contract – until ­local doctors can be developed.

Patching the system with politically interesting lumps of cash does nothing of value for the management of the Hospital ­Authority. The authority needs to develop an image of excellence.

Tom Mulvey, Wan Chai

Integration still out of reach for ethnic minorities

I am writing in response to ­Yonden Lhatoo’s column (“Hong Kong’s ethnic minority woes just keep getting worse”, February 10).

I do not think Hong Kong is an ethnically integrated society. First, the lack of job opportunities makes it difficult for the ethnic minority population to integrate better.

Most employers require job ­applicants to have a qualification from a local university. However, not all ethnic minority citizens have this qualification.

Besides, a basic job requirement is Cantonese skills but, even if many Hong Kong-born ethnic ­minority people speak fluent ­Cantonese, they cannot read or write it properly.

Without higher educational qualifications and Cantonese, many find it hard to get office jobs, and must choose sectors involving manual labour, construction or road work.

Second, Hong Kong’s education system prevents ethnic ­minority students from thriving.

The system not only requires students to know English but to also be good at Chinese. Most ­ethnic ­minority students struggle to master the traditional characters, and thus fall behind in class. As language is key to getting a good job and to social mobility, they remain laggards in life.

Third, the local culture, religion and food habits are very different from those of the ethnic minorities, further increasing their alienation.

Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O

Puppy police highlight role in safe city

I was glad to read that the police ­department has puppy replacements in training for 21 working dogs set to retire by next year (“New recruits to join Hong Kong police dog unit”, February 20).

Such reports help to raise public awareness of the valuable role played by the canine unit in keeping our city safe and will, I hope, ­deter would-be animal abusers.

Cecilia Ngan, Kwai Chung

Hong Kong ­has to do more for the disabled

Lauranda Wong is right to call on Hong Kong society to do more for the disabled, so they can lead fuller lives (“Try harder to help visually impaired”, February 24).

Ms Wong urged the government to allocate more resources to support organisations that provide services to the disabled.

In the US, many online companies offer virtual reality eyewear tests, to help patrons choose their prescription glasses from a computer at home, without needing to travel to a bricks-and-mortar store downtown; and the glasses will be dropped off by courier. This is a great convenience for all, especially the physically disabled.

In Hong Kong, many of our hearing-impaired citizens depend on hearing aids, and the digital ­versions can cost more than HK$10,000 each.

The audiology centres at government ENT (ear, nose, throat) departments could help with this, but perhaps the waiting time would be so long that ­patients would hardly be able to hold down a job to survive.

Medical services become false promises when the shortest waiting time to see a specialist ­approaches 18 months.

Edmond Pang, Fanling

Living in fear of umbrella ‘movement’

Every time it rains in Hong Kong, if it is a work day, I end up dreading yet another encounter with the umbrellas in Central.

Here I am not speaking of the sacred yellow umbrella of the ­Occupy Central variety, but the more usual, mundane, keeps-out-the-rain kind.

I run scared of crossing the street, so extreme are the angles of the attack on my eyeballs from every single umbrella.

This is so, no doubt, to ensure that not one drop of water lands on the person wielding said umbrella.

Would this kind of community spirit be a sound basis for democracy in Hong Kong?

Mark Chan, Pok Fu Lam