The Food and Health Bureau has allocated HK$570 million (US$73.54 million) for the Hospital Authority to undertake a rehiring progam to cope with an expected wave of retirement among medical doctors.
The amount will be used for the authority to rehire retired doctors not only to fill a huge gap created by the decreasing number of medical practitioners but also to train young and inexperienced doctors, Sing Tao Daily reported on Monday.
Nearly 2,500 doctors, nurses, professional medical staff and other support personnel are expected to retire this year and in the next as they turn 60 years old.
In the past, only about 20-30 doctors and several hundred nurses retired each year on average, suggesting that the medical profession is facing an aging crisis.
Dr. Theresa Li Tak-lai, head of human resources at the authority, said doctors who reach the retirement age of 60 have vast knowledge and experience that they can pass on to new doctors.
It is hoped the rehiring scheme can retain such talents and ease the manpower shortage in public hospitals, Li said.
Retired doctors will be rehired under a two-year contract with the same salary they are getting prior to retirement, she said. They will be working without any management title under the scheme.
Li said the authority has so far rehired 60 percent of the doctors who are set to retire this year and will inform more doctors in public hospitals about the scheme before the year’s end.
While acknowledging the benefits of the scheme, Dr. Choi Kin, former chairman of the Hong Kong Medical Association, said it should last for only two to three years; otherwise, public hospitals may experience an excess of doctors like what happened in 2003.
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