Former Hospital Authority (HA) chairman Anthony Wu has called on the government to encourage Hong Kong doctors who graduated overseas to return to the SAR to help tackle the manpower crunch at local public hospitals.
Speaking on an RTHK programme, Wu said authorities should consider allowing specialist doctors who were born to Hong Kong parents and who graduated from one of the top 100 medical schools in the world, to return and practice in Hong Kong without having to sit an excruciatingly tough licensing exam.
However, they would have to commit to serving in public hospitals for several years.
Wu dismissed concern that the proposal would lead to an influx of mainland doctors, saying there is no specialist qualification system on the mainland and doctors there could not therefore be exempted from taking the Hong Kong exam.
Wu, who headed the authority from 2004 to 2013, added that the HA should try to cut down on bureaucracy, noting that while meetings are unavoidable at big organisations, it should consider how to simplify the process.
He was responding to criticism by an authority board member, Gabriel Leung, who said the HA had "too much bureaucracy", and this may have affected the clinical work of frontline medical staff, and patients' well-being.
"I never liked meetings and I remember when I first became chairman, I shortened out the meetings and I cut out a lot of meetings", he told RTHK's Janice Wong.