LCQ18: Obstetrics and gynaecology services of Hospital Authority

     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Leung Ka-lau and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, in the Legislative Council today (February 17):


     It has been reported that there has been serious wastage of obstetricians and gynaecologists in public hospitals under the Hospital Authority (HA) in recent years.  Regarding the statistics on the obstetrics and gynaecology departments of public hospitals, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:

(1) the information on the items set out in the table in Annex 1, in each of the past five years (i.e. from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2015) (set out the information in the table in Annex 1);

(2) in respect of the full-time doctors of various ranks (namely Consultant, Senior Medical Officer/Associate Consultant and Specialist/Resident) in each of the past five years, the respective (i) numbers, percentages and length of service of doctors who had left, (ii) average time taken to fill the vacancies concerned, (iii) numbers and average numbers of years of experience of newly recruited doctors, and (iv) numbers of unfilled vacancies at year-end (set out such information in a table); the measures taken by HA to alleviate the shortage of medical manpower; and

(3) the following information of full-time doctors at present: (i) number of doctors breakdown by rank, (ii) median length of service, (iii) doctor-to-patient ratio, and (iv) average number of working hours per week, as well as the average numbers of deliveries, outpatient consultations and operations they performed last year?



     My response to the question raised by the Dr Hon Leung Ka-lau on the information of obstetrics and gynaecology services of the Hospital Authority (HA) is as follows:

(1) The table in Annex 2 provides the relevant information on the obstetric services provided by HA in the past five years.

(2) The table in Annex 3 sets out the attrition figures of full-time doctors in the obstetrics and gynaecology specialty in the past five years.

     The table in Annex 4 sets out the attrition rates of full-time doctors in the obstetrics and gynaecology specialty in the past five years.
     The table in Annex 5 sets out the years of service in HA of departed full-time doctors in the obstetrics and gynaecology specialty in the past five years.
     The table in Annex 6 sets out the number of newly recruited doctors in the obstetrics and gynaecology specialty in the past five years.

     Generally speaking, HA will, as far as practicable, fill the vacancies of Consultant and Associate Consultant through internal transfer or promotion of suitable serving doctors.  As for the vacancies of resident trainees, HA conducts recruitment exercise of resident trainees each year to recruit medical graduates of local universities, and other qualified doctors to fill the vacancies and undergo HA's specialist training.  Individual specialties may also recruit doctors throughout the year to cope with service and operational needs.

     With an ageing population, advances in medical technology and an increasing demand for healthcare services in the community, the manpower requirement for healthcare personnel grows commensurately. To this end, HA implements the following measures to alleviate the shortage of doctors:

(a) Increasing doctor manpower

(i) Recruiting part-time doctors.  As at end of November 2015, HA has recruited a total of 344 part-time doctors in various specialties (including 25 part-time gynaecology doctors), providing support equivalent to about 129 full-time doctors;
(ii) Re-employing suitable serving doctors upon their retirement at the normal retirement age of 60 or completion of contract in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to perform clinical duties and help train up young doctors (currently including two gynaecology doctors who have been re-employed); and
(iii) Raising the retirement age of new recruits from 60 to 65 starting from June 1, 2015.

(b) Improving working conditions and promotion prospects

     HA will create additional Associate Consultant posts in all specialties on top of those for normal replacements and planned new services to enhance promotion opportunities of specialists.

(c) Other measures

     HA has taken measures to strengthen the support for blood testing service and other clerical duties, and to enhance on-the-job training opportunities (e.g. healthcare staff simulation training and Crew Resources Management Training Programme), so as to reduce the workload of healthcare staff, boost their morale and retain talent.

(3) The table in Annex 7 sets out the relevant statistics on full-time doctors in obstetrics and gynaecology specialty.

Ends/Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:22