Strengthen exchange with Greater Bay Area

Doctors, nurses, radiographers, and Chinese medicine practitioners from the Mainland will visit Hong Kong under a series of Greater Bay Area (GBA) Healthcare Talents Exchange Programmes announced by the Hospital Authority (HA) in September. Earlier this year during the fifth wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, a Mainland Medical Support Team came to Hong Kong to support the fight against the epidemic. They have established a good foundation for collaboration with the local healthcare professionals at the Treatment Centre for COVID-19 at the AsiaWorld Expo (AWE). Targeting to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, the exchange programmes aim to foster the development of healthcare sector between the two places and broaden the talent pool in GBA in the long run.

HA is facing a serious manpower shortage and Chairman Henry Fan says HA has adopted a multi-pronged approach to address it, including the introduction of non-locally trained doctors and professional exchanges of healthcare workers with the Mainland cities in the GBA. HA is actively following up with relevant Mainland ministries and commissions on the nomination of the first batch of candidates for different disciplines and the implementation of relevant arrangements.

During the fifth wave of COVID-19, a Mainland Medical Support Team worked with the HA team to provide treatments integrating Chinese and Western medicine for COVID-19 patients at the AWE. Under the exchange programmes, senior Chinese medicine practitioners are also being recruited. Mr Fan says Hong Kong had a healthy supply of Chinese medicine talent and Mainland experts would help train local practitioners.

“The integrated Chinese-Western medicine model currently provides services to patients suffering from musculoskeletal pain, cancer, and strokes,” he explains. “I hope this model can be enhanced and extended to more patient services. That would benefit more patients and uplift the service quality in Hong Kong.”

The programmes are designed to enhance the experience sharing and learning between the healthcare professionals of the two places and establish a broader talent pool in GBA in the long run, expanding the range of services and ultimately providing better and more comprehensive treatment for patients. Mr Fan emphasises that the Mainland healthcare professionals will stay in Hong Kong for no longer than 12 months using a rotation mechanism under the exchange programmes, and thus will not affect the promotion of HA colleagues.

Memories of a special partnership

The Mainland Medical Support Team of near 400 healthcare professionals helped treat and care for COVID-19 patients together with the HA Team at the AWE in March, returning to Guangdong when the outbreak eased. Before they left, the Mainland team presented a protective gown signed by all of its members to their Hong Kong colleagues. The gift is now on display in the lobby of the Hospital Authority Building as a memento of the precious partnership.

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