LCQ10: Chiropractor services

     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 29):


     Regarding promoting the development of chiropractic practice in Hong Kong and the enhancement of the popularity of chiropractic treatment, will the Government inform this Council whether at present it has any plan to:

(a) step up publicity and promotion of the efficacy of chiropractic treatment on neuromusculoskeletal disorders; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) introduce chiropractic services to the out-patient services of the public healthcare system; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) advise or encourage local tertiary institutions to offer chiropractic courses; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?  



     At present, 13 types of healthcare professions are subject to regulation under the existing legislation of Hong Kong.  The statutory regulation for these healthcare professions is premised on professional self-regulation and is enforced by the regulatory bodies established under the respective legislation.  This serves to protect the public from incurring any health risk which may arise from receiving medical care from unqualified healthcare professionals.

     While the regulatory systems are established by the respective legislation, the legislation confers upon the professions a very high degree of autonomy and status.  The regulatory bodies are empowered to devise their own code of professional conduct or code of ethics for compliance by their members.  They have also established disciplinary mechanisms to handle and investigate into complaints lodged by the public, and to exercise disciplinary actions against their members where necessary.  The Government plays a monitory role and provides administrative support to these bodies.

     The Government considers that chiropractors play a certain role in our healthcare services.  The Chiropractors Registration Ordinance (Cap 428) was enacted as early as in 1993 to provide for the registration of chiropractors, the disciplinary control of the professional activities of registered chiropractors, and for matters related to such registration and disciplinary control.  Currently, most chiropractors practising in Hong Kong have received their training in the USA, Australia, Canada and Europe, and hold chiropractic degrees awarded by chiropractic colleges accredited by four overseas accrediting councils for chiropractors.  As at May 1, 2011, there were 137 registered chiropractors in Hong Kong.

     My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:

(a) The efficacy of different kinds of healthcare services varies.  The Government encourages the professions to introduce their services to the public as long as there is no violation of their code of professional conduct.  To enhance public awareness, relevant professional associations and bodies may also promote their services in the community.

(b) Existing services provided by public hospitals and health issues handled by relevant allied health professionals already cover those handled by chiropractors.  Therefore the Hospital Authority (HA) has no plan to introduce chiropractor service at the moment. HA will consider new services and facilities in response to the demand of the public for different healthcare services.

(c) We keep an open mind on training programmes offered by local tertiary institutions for any healthcare disciplines.

     The University Grants Committee (UGC) considers proposals from its funded institutions for introducing new publicly-funded programmes in the context of the triennial academic development planning exercise.  In the ongoing academic development planning exercise for the 2012/13 to 2014/15 triennium, the UGC has not received any application from its funded institutions for starting training programmes on chiropractic.  Therefore there is no plan to start publicly-funded programme related to chiropractic in the next triennium.

Ends/Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Issued at HKT 13:17