“Later retirement can ease hospital staffing worries”

Executive Councillor Lam Ching-choi on Saturday urged public hospitals to raise the retirement age for medical workers, amid concerns about a brain drain.

Speaking at a forum to discuss plans to amend the law to make it easier for Hongkongers who train in medicine elsewhere to practise in the SAR, Choi said helping overseas-trained medics work in Hong Kong would assist in maintaining the quality of services.

He said allowing public sector medical staff to work beyond the age of 60 would also help keep standards up. However, he said any such proposal must also take into account the promotion hopes of younger doctors.

“Raising the retirement age for medical workers is an easier and faster way to solve the problem,” he said.

Speaking at the same forum, the president of the Public Doctors’ Association, Tony Ling, said he expected more medical workers would leave Hong Kong in the near future.

He noted that only those who joined the authority after 2015 could work until they were 65, noting that it was a good idea to allow more staff to work for longer.

The authority’s chairman, Henry Fan, said last week that turnover rates for doctors and nurses had increased. He said the paperwork departing staff requested suggested that many of them had plans to emigrate.