Three steps to ease Hong Kong’s medical staff shortage, starting with imports
- Hong Kong can’t solve staffing shortages in its health sector by simply increasing the output at medical schools
I agree with your editorial titled “Balance required on medical staff from overseas” (January 23). There is a huge shortage of medical staff in Hong Kong and has been for many years, often in posts requiring experience, so simply increasing output from medical schools is not the solution, even if it were possible (“Hard-pressed nurses demand action on manpower crisis”, January 20).
Job protection by doctors is a major obstacle, somewhat similar to the obstacles Heung Yee Kuk presents with regard to development of housing in the New Territories. Both are problems the city’s civil service-led government seems unable to handle.
First, Filipino nurses are recruited to the UK and other countries. This suggests the language tests and so on here need to be relaxed so that overseas nurses can be employed, and experienced, overseas-trained doctors should be employable without the hurdles introduced here.
Secondly, there can obviously be restrictions on overseas staff moving to the lucrative private medical sector, which is a cause for concern with regard to locally trained staff as well.
And lastly, staff in hospitals and the civil service can also be better encouraged to work after 60, as the working conditions and salaries are more favourable than for the ordinary working people our chief executive would like to put to work.
Tom Mulvey, Wan Chai