Message from the President, G. Tang, September 2005


Dear Fellows,           

On 23 July 2005, I attended a Symposium on Specialist Training for Young Doctors in Hong Kong that was organised by Dr Kwok Ka-ki, our Fellow in the College of Surgeons and our Functional Constituency Representative in the Legislative Council. I was touched by the enthusiasm of our young doctors in their quest for life-long learning, and their determination to perform well in the face of the current constraints on contract employment.


Written in the Ordinance of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, a doctor has to undergo at least 6 years of postgraduate training, and to pass the assessment in any Specialty field before he or she can become Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine and be eligible to register with the Specialist Register of the Medical Council of Hong Kong. In August 2004, the Academy reviewed the duration of training, and all Colleges agreed that 6-year training is the minimum time needed to ensure standard for specialist training. Some specialty and subspecialty training requires additional 1-3 years.


Cognizant of contract employment of recent graduates since 1997 and the time needed to finish training and exit examination, the Academy discussed the position of having training outside the Hospital Authority and allowing trainees to take their exit examination while not being employed in a training post. There are several advantages in this decision. First, the scope of training is enlarged. Trainees will have more opportunities and exposure outside Hospital Authority. Second, the time constraint to finish training and examination in a training post in 7 years is reduced. Third, the employment pressure on Hospital Authority is hopefully lessened. Fourth, the Specialists in the private sector can become trainers so that their expertise can be learnt and propagated. Fifth, having training centres in any hospital can improve the standard of the working environment as these training centres must be conducive to work and learning. Life-long learning is key to maintenance of professional standard.


Recognition of training outside Hong Kong is another move to improve training opportunities and standard. Hong Kong is a small place and it must network with centres of excellence internationally. It is only through such interflow of brains and rubbing of shoulders that young doctors in Hong Kong are able to keep up with their competitiveness locally and globally. They are fine and intelligent people that the medical profession community must treasure and nurture in order that the medical profession can still take the lead in health-care provision.


Amongst health-care teams, only medicine and dentistry have an Academy, and with the existence of an Academy of Medicine , the Community will be assured of the standard of care provided by its Fellows who will then be able to take a leadership role in multi-disciplinary care. I am acutely aware of the efforts many Academy Fellows have contributed towards training, continuing medical education, and continuous professional development. For the past months when I live in the Academy, I see notices of many committee meetings, working groups, and seminars. This is time and energy spent outside working hours. I salute all those who have participated, and I sincerely hope that these efforts will continue so as to uphold the Objectives of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, your Academy of Medicine.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Grace Tang