LI GANG XINHUA Over 300 medical workers from the mainland cities of Guangdong-Hong Kong Macao Greater Bay Area GBA will visit Hong Kong in batches in the next two years to help alleviate the city's acute shortage of medical employees.
The city's Hospital Authority HA announced on Thursday that the workers will start arriving as soon as next month, including doctors, nurses, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, and radiation therapists.
The plan is part of the four talent exchange programs that the authority approved on Thursday to better leverage the Greater Bay Area's medical talent resources. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Advisory Committee was established on the same day to foster cross-boundary medical collaboration.
Eight doctors who had helped Hong Kong's anti-pandemic fight were confirmed to be coming to the city. They will apply to the Medical Council of Hong Kong for limited registration to practice in public hospitals, and they will be in the city for no more than a year, HA Chairman Henry Fan Hung-lingFan Hung-ling said.
The first batch of 70 mainland nurses is expected to arrive early next year, and the number will increase to 300 over the next two years. Nurses who will not be registered in Hong Kong will be arranged to handle works similar to the Guangdong-Hong Kong Nurse Specialist training program of 2007, Fan said. Three senior TCM practitioners will arrive in Hong Kong as early as next month, and about six radiation therapists were invited to visit for a year.
Fan said that given the strategic importance of the GBA development in Hong Kong, it is important for the HA to formulate long-term strategies and proactively explore concrete collaboration projects to support healthcare initiatives in GBA development.
The hospital authority released the latest employee attrition rate for public hospitals, with doctors at 8.3 percent and nurses at 10.1 percent.
In order to alleviate the shortage, exchange programs will focus on inviting mainland experts to Hong Kong, but it is less likely that Hong Kong will send medical workers to the north in the near future, Fan said.
As with other exchange programs, the HA will take the legal responsibility if mainland experts are responsible for medical accidents while working in Hong Kong, Fan said.
He said that the promotion opportunities of local medical employees will not be affected as the mainland medical workers will return to their previous positions after completion of the program.
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