Professor Tony Mok Shu-kam specialises in clinical oncology at CUHK and is a well-known television doctor who was trained in Canada. He worked there before returning to work in Hong Kong under limited registration. He says the recruitment of overseas-qualified doctors will only be of minimal help to the problem of the shortage of doctors in Hong Kong’s public hospitals. “The demand is always there,” says Mok who believes the shortage is due to the government’s failure in long-term planning.
He explains the government reduced the number of medical students during the economic decline in the early 2000s. “When you cut back on the number of medical students, five years later, the flow of younger doctors into the public system starts to decrease. And we see the shortage of doctors these years.”
Hong Kong’s two medical schools intend to increase the number of graduates from 260 to 320, but that will not boost the number of graduates till 2015.
As a recent graduate from CUHK’s medical school, 24-year-old Dr Will Leung Lok-hang is positive about the recruitment of overseas-qualified doctors. Leung, who is now a fully registered medical practitioner working at the Caritas Medical Centre says: “I welcome them coming, if they come and do good to patients, because we all should put the patients’ benefit first.”
Setting aside the rising tensions between those who support the Overseas Doctor Recruitment Scheme and those who oppose it, Leung says the fundamental value of a good doctor lies in their attitude. “He should be collaborative, cooperative, of good character and listen.”
Regardless of where they have been trained, Leung believes that, “to be a good doctor, you should not just have a cure, but to comfort always. We have this kind of mission.”