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Hong Kong is not fully leveraging a non-locally trained doctor workforce

                 •   Non-locally trained doctors used to make up a significant proportion of Hong Kong’s doctor workforce. Following the
                     abolishment of a pathway that allowed qualified non-locally trained doctors from recognised Commonwealth countries to
                     attain Full Registration for practice in Hong Kong without taking a licensing examination in September 1996, Hong Kong
                     experienced a drastic decrease in newly registered doctors. Notably, the proportion of newly registered doctors with non-
                     local qualifications also fell drastically and has remained low ever since.
                 •   Today, pathways for admitting non-locally trained doctors continue to exist, one for Full Registration and the other for
                     Limited Registration. However, related policies are insufficient to boost the number of non-locally trained doctors serving in
                     the system for reasons we highlight in upcoming sections.

                   Hong Kong must fully leverage on a non-locally trained doctor workforce to drastically increase the doctor supply

                 •   The Government’s recent effort in rekindling enthusiasm for leveraging a non-locally trained doctor workforce includes the
                     announcement of a proposal on a new legislated pathway to admit non-locally trained doctors. This landmark proposal announced
                     in February 2021 was very similar to the recommendations made in Our Hong Kong Foundation’s (OHKF) 2019 advocacy report,
                     Health System Capacity Constraints – The Severe Shortage of Doctors in Hong Kong Public Hospitals and stipulates that non-
                     locally trained doctors who are Hong Kong permanent residents would be eligible to attain Full Registration in Hong Kong
                     under specified conditions, that i) candidates must have graduated from recognised medical schools; ii) have specialist
                     qualifications; and iii) worked in public healthcare institutions for a specified period. While this is a good step forward, the
                     Government proposal should extend beyond the current conditions to allow for the entry of high quality doctors for Hong
                     Kong to drastically increase its doctor supply.
                 •   The Government has sent a clear signal for the need to leverage on a non-locally trained doctor workforce. However,
                     direction must be complemented with dedication and coordination of all relevant parties. These parties should exercise
                     respective powers to reach the common goal of ensuring a sufficient supply of doctors in Hong Kong to deliver quality
                     healthcare services in a timely manner. Importantly, key hurdles that exist in our system as barriers to non-locally trained
                     talent must be identified and overcome for Hong Kong to stand a chance at overcoming its longstanding doctor shortage

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