The Hospital Authority (HA) said it plans to bring in senior mainland doctors from the Greater Bay Area in the second half of this year as part of efforts to help fight what it describes as a "very worrying" brain drain.
Chairman Henry Fan said on Thursday the first batch of around five to 10 doctors will come under the exchange programme, and those who were in Hong Kong earlier this year in the campaign against the Omicron outbreak will have priority.
He said the incoming mainland doctors, who will be on a rotation system and work here for no more than a year, will have to be registered and approved by the Medical Council first.
Officials are in talks with the Guangdong Health Commission about the scheme. It's not immediately known how many mainland doctors it aims to attract.
Fan said the goal is to increase manpower.
"We insist on two principles. First, this is for the interests of patients, that this is beneficial to them," he told reporters after a meeting of the authority's board.
"Second, these arrangements have to abide by the laws both in Hong Kong and on the mainland."
Fan said the HA will ensure that the arrival of mainland doctors won't affect the recruitment of locally-trained medical staff or the promotion prospects of existing workers.
He said besides doctors, the authority may hire other medical staff or Chinese medicine practitioners from the mainland in future.
Fan added that in the 12 months through April this year, nearly 500 full-time public doctors and some 2,600 full-time nurses in Hong Kong had quit. The turnover rates were 7.9 percent and 9.5 percent respectively.
Meanwhile, he said a low-interest home loan scheme to help retain staff will start accepting applications in the fourth quarter of this year.
Under the scheme that was first floated last December, the loan amount is capped at 48 months of the employee's monthly salary or HK$6 million, with the interest rate set at around 1 percent and a repayment period of 20 years.