Nov 23, 2016 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

According to the South China Morning Post, University of Hong Kong (HKU) medical students will receive comprehensive medical training in both public and private teaching hospitals.  The two-fold goal: to give students exposure to experiences that they wouldn’t see in a public hospital—and to prepare for work in the private sector—will remove some of the strain from the shortage of physicians.

Professor Gabriel Leung, Dean of Medical Faculty at HKU, told the South China Post, “This is the only direction for local medical training to go.”  He added, “It is not an easy job it has to be done to make Hong Kong advance to a higher level in the world.”  Currently, public hospitals employ 60 percent of Hong Kong’s physicians and treat 90 percent of its patients, while private hospitals employ 40 percent of doctors, and care for only 10 percent of its patients. 

All students will have access to training at both public and private hospitals, and appropriate changes to the curriculum will reflect the differences in working at public and private institutions. Leung explained that the public Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam will continue to serve as the primary training ground, but students will also train at the HKU—Shenzhen Hospital in Futian, and Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital in Wong Chuk Hang. 

Leung explained, “As a medical school, we have to consider that half of our students will work as public doctors and half will join the private sector. … If we just tell them to try on their own but do not provide them [the experience] of working in the private sector, this is not the way for responsible educators.”

Who’s accountable?  Leung reported that Gleneagles and HKU-Shenzhen would employ only HKU medical professors as chiefs of service to ensure that all students achieve the same standards. 

Learn more about studying in Hong Kong

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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