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Economy fit, doctors a hit

Public Hospital Doctors

Future trends for hiring doctors in public hospitals depend on the economic situation. If the economy is good, the Hospital Authority (HA) will receive more funding from the government and will be able to hire more doctors. If the economy is bad, however, the opposite is true.

Looking forward to 2013, it is believed that the trend for hiring doctors will remain positive. Hong Kong's economy is expected to keep improving, so the HA should receive sufficient funding.

Many people think that doctors are always in great demand. This is not, in fact, always the case. If the economy is bad, people may want to save money and won't see doctors for minor problems such as colds or coughs. As the ageing problem gets more serious, the demand for geriatricians will not necessarily rise. People may get healthier due to modern technology. It is quite normal nowadays that people are still very healthy at the age of 65.

It is difficult to predict the career prospects of a doctor over just one or two years, especially as it takes a very long time to train them. Maybe because of this, more girls seem to be applying for medical school recently. Boys are perhaps tired of the years of training and prefer industries where they can see their prospects sooner.

Dr Leung Ka-lau, member, Legislative Council
As told to Chiu Po-sze