A major Hong Kong clinic has been hiring mainland-trained nurses who might be underqualified to provide healthcare services.
Apple Daily is reporting that the practice is raising concern about loopholes in government regulations.
Quality HealthCare Nursing Agency, a unit of Quality HealthCare Medical Services Ltd., one of Hong Kong’s largest providers of corporate healthcare services, said in an online ad that it needs “a large number” of certified nurses from the mainland.
They will work as leave reserves in hospitals and residential care facilities and as private caregivers, the agency said in an online post.
It promised high pay but did not elaborate.
The agency said it has 10 mainland-trained nurses working as private caregivers but do not provide nursing care.
The recruitment comes amid growing concern over potential regulatory loopholes amid a planned overhaul of the Medical Council of Hong Kong.
Some reports say mainland doctors and other medical professionals have been hired locally but without a Hong Kong certification.
Another nursing agency, Professional Private Nursing Care Ltd. in Kwun Tong, is engaged in similar hiring practices, according to news website hk01.com
The reports are stirring up online discussion groups, with netizens saying Hong Kong could be swamped with underqualified doctors and nurses.
The government is considering allowing more mainland-trained medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, to work in Hong Kong under a planned reform of the medical council, hk01.com reports.
The Nursing Council of Hong Kong did not respond to inquiries.
Lawmaker Joseph Lee, who chairs the Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff, said the agency’s practice has exposed serious loopholes in current regulations.
Fellow lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki, a medical doctor by profession, accused the government of doing little to clarify its policy on nurses.
He said caretakers provided by private companies are unregulated, unlike registered and enrolled nurses.
Some nursing agencies said there is great demand for private caregivers given the high cost of hiring a registered nurse.
A private caregiver costs HK$1,045 for 12 hours compared with HK$2,450 for a registered nurse, according to Quality HealthCare Nursing Agency.
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