Just one-third of Hongkongers are satisfied with the city's public hospitals, a survey has found, with many suggesting overseas doctors should only be allowed to work at these and not private ones.
The survey of about 11,000 people, mostly face-to-face interviews conducted by the Democratic Party from March to this month, also found that many respondents were annoyed about long waiting times at public hospitals.
With medical resources stretched to the limit, party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan said the government should not encourage local doctors to head across the border to work in the Greater Bay Area " Beijing's plan to turn Hong Kong, Macau and nine mainland cities into an economic powerhouse.
"The waiting time in public hospitals is so long that there has been no improvement in the past few decades," Wong said, releasing the survey's findings on Sunday.
"There is a shortage of beds and thus we need more hospitals. The biggest problem is the shortage of doctors and nurses. Where do we find enough doctors?"
Asked about public hospital services, 5.6 per cent said they were very satisfied; 28.6 per cent satisfied; 45.8 per cent thought they were "average"; 11.2 per cent were dissatisfied, 5.7 per cent very dissatisfied and some did not answer.
On the reasons for their dissatisfaction, about 9,800 respondents chose long waiting times; 6,676 answered a lack of care from doctors and nurses; 4,307 complained doctors spent too little time with them; and 4,276 were not happy it took them so long to see doctors for follow-up consultations.
Some 34 per cent supported allowing outstanding overseas doctors to work in Hong Kong without requiring them to take a local examination. About 31 per cent opposed this suggestion.
On whether overseas doctors should only be allowed to work in public hospitals, 42.5 per cent supported this suggestion, with only 13.3 per cent against it.
Earlier this month, the city's medical regulator voted to make it easier for doctors trained overseas to work in Hong Kong. Under the deal, expected to take effect next month, overseas medical practitioners can be exempted from internship requirements if they have worked in Hong Kong public hospitals or medical schools for three years and passed the licensing examination.
The survey showed many Hongkongers preferred that overseas doctors be allowed to work in public hospitals only.
"Are we going to ban them from working at private hospitals? If they don't want to work at public hospitals, there will be two options: let them work at private hospitals, or they will go back to Britain, Canada, or wherever they are from," Wong said.
"The problem is that we lack manpower in both public and private hospitals. It's better for them to stay than to go."
There are about 14,290 doctors in Hong Kong, which works out at 1.9 for every 1,000 residents. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development put the acceptable global standard at 3.4 doctors for every 1,000 citizens.
Wong said Hong Kong should admit more medical students. The Hospital Authority, which runs the city's 43 public hospitals, should also set a target to, for example, treat "semi-urgent" patients in 90 minutes and "non-urgent" patients in two hours, she suggested.
At present, the authority has a policy of treating "critical" patients immediately, "emergency" patients within 15 minutes and "urgent" patients within 30 minutes. It has no target for less-urgent patients.
The authority said it would consider the survey results and the suggestions the Democratic Party had made.
Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.Artikel Asli