What Hong Kong needs: more doctors and wider health insurance coverage
It is all well and good for the Hong Kong government to plan for more hospitals and beds, but, as mentioned by Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the “long-term interest and people’s well-being” need to be considered.
With a huge shortfall of doctors in the Hospital Authority, how does the government plan to fill the long-standing vacancies in specialist and frontline services?
There appears to have been no action taken by the government in respect of the short-term recruitment of overseas doctors and the restrictive practices of the Medical Council since the handover, which contribute to these shortages.
Strangely, the model of the council has, reportedly, recently been recommended for mainland China by a previous health secretary.
Record-high doctors’ turnover rate of 5.7 per cent in Hong Kong public hospitals worsens manpower shortage issues
There is huge demand for hospital services from the elderly, while the first tier of health care and disease prevention, the Health Department, seems to play only a small role in this respect to keep older citizens healthy in their own homes, in elderly homes and day care centres.
Meanwhile, the government drags its feet on establishing a health insurance scheme to include the necessary cover of previous medical conditions, supported and monitored by the government.
The Legislative Council would be wise to consider realistically the “long-term interest” of the population in these respects when examining funding for more beds and hospitals.
Tom Mulvey, Wan Chai