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LCQ10: Professional qualifications of clinical psychologists

    Following is a question by the Hon Tsang Yok-sing and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (October 24):


     It has been reported that the Division of Clinical Psychology of the Hong Kong Psychological Society has pointed out that at present, no statutory regulatory mechanism has been established for formulating the professional qualifications of clinical psychologists; there is only the registration regime for clinical psychologists administered by the Society. Some courses have also claimed to be able to help those enrolled gain psychologist qualifications. However, in reality, only the University of Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong are currently recognised in Hong Kong for providing courses which meet the standards, while the "qualifications" obtained through the courses available in the community are not recognised in Hong Kong. The existing legislation also fails to regulate the relevant situation. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the existing regulation of the professional qualifications of people providing clinical psychology consultation services and clinical psychology courses; and

(b) how it will step up regulation of the above, so as to prevent unqualified people from providing the services concerned and unrecognised institutions from offering the courses concerned?


Madam President,

(a) At present, clinical psychologists are not subject to statutory registration, but they can register with the society-based system. Besides, the majority of clinical psychologists work in the public sector, in which their qualifications and work are already under control.

     According to the information provided by the Education Bureau, currently we do not have specific legislation regulating the provision of clinical psychology courses. As regards courses conducted in Hong Kong which lead to the award of non-local higher academic qualifications by a non-local institution or non-local professional qualifications by a non-local professional body, they should be registered under the Non-local Higher and Professional Education (Regulation) Ordinance (Cap 493). In order that a course can be registered, the non-local institution concerned must be recognised by the relevant accreditation authority in the relevant country, and has in place effective measures to ensure that the standard of the course is maintained at a level comparable with a course conducted in that country leading to the same qualification and is recognised as such by that institution, the academic community in that country and the relevant accreditation authority in that country.

     The Education Bureau has pointed out that the recognition or otherwise of individual courses by individual local professional bodies does not fall within the ambit of the above ordinances.

(b) In assessing whether to strengthen regulation, the Administration will take into account a series of factors, including the possible hazards caused to the public in case of any misconduct or substandard service by practitioners of the relevant professions. If there is a need to strengthen regulation, higher priority will be accorded to health care professions with a larger proportion of practitioners working mainly in the private sector and having more frequent contact with patients.

Ends/Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Issued at HKT 16:00


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