LCQ11: Manpower requirements for physiotherapists

     Following is a question by the Hon Tam Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (June 23):


     Some members of the industry have predicted that the demand for physiotherapists will increase upon the Government's implementation of the licensing system for residential care homes for persons with disabilities. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) it knows the current number of registered physiotherapists in Hong Kong and, among them, the respective numbers of those who are employed in public medical institutions, non-governmental organisations subvented by the Social Welfare Department and schools;

(b) it knows the number of newly registered physiotherapists in each of the past three years and, among them, the respective numbers of those who graduated from Hong Kong and overseas tertiary institutions;

(c) it had, in the past three years, made any manpower forecast and assessment in respect of the physiotherapist profession; if it had, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that; and

(d) it had, in the past three years, planned to increase the number of places in the physiotherapist training programmes offered by the tertiary institutions in Hong Kong; if it had, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) As at March 31, 2010, there are 2,190 registered physiotherapists in Hong Kong.

     According to the information provided by relevant government departments, as at March 31, 2010, the employment situation of some of the physiotherapists is shown in Table 1.

(b) The number of newly registered physiotherapists in each of the past three years is shown in Table 2.

     In the 2009/10 to 2011/12 academic years, the Schools and University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions will provide 70 publicly-funded degree places in physiotherapy each year, an increase of 10 places over the 2008/09 academic year. Accordingly, from 2012 onwards, the number of physiotherapy graduates in Hong Kong will increase to 70.

(c) & (d) The Food and Health Bureau has been providing advice on manpower requirements for healthcare professionals (including physiotherapists) in accordance with the triennial student places allocation and funding requirement planning cycle of UGC. In projecting the manpower requirements, the Government will take into account the views of the major employers of healthcare professionals, including the Hospital Authority, the Department of Health (DH), welfare service providers and private hospitals.

     These organisations and departments will take note of the number of retirees each year and the trend of wastage, and make an assessment on the long term manpower requirements having regard to such factors as population ageing, demographic changes and the special needs of the community for particular areas of services.

     In making overall manpower requirement projections for healthcare personnel, the Government will also take into account the manpower implications of healthcare service delivery model and other related policies such as the development of primary healthcare services and promotion of private hospital development.

     Besides, DH conducts statistical studies on the manpower resources of healthcare professionals (including physiotherapists) regularly to collect the latest information on the numbers, features and employment of healthcare professionals and keep track of changes in the trend.

     We will continue to monitor the manpower requirements for healthcare professionals closely and make recommendations to UGC on future publicly-funded student places for reference by the institutions in their academic planning.

Ends/Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Issued at HKT 13:10