The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (Academy) was established in 1993 under the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine Ordinance (Cap. 419) to address the need for postgraduate medical and dental education and training in Hong Kong with objectives clearly set out. It is an independent institution with statutory power to organise, monitor, assess and accredit all medical and dental specialist training, and the responsibility to oversee the continuing medical education and continuous professional development to maintain the standard of specialists practising locally.
Safeguarding Standards of Specialist Training
The Education Committee is established under the Academy Council according to the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine Regulation (Cap. 419B), with the following functions:
- To co-ordinate and monitor the programmes of postgraduate education and training and continuing medical education of Academy Colleges to ensure that they are of the standard set by the Academy;
- To ensure the proper organisation and conduct of examinations; and
- To advise the Council on education and training policy of the Academy, and on any other matters concerning postgraduate education and training and continuing medical education.
Academy Colleges are required to provide at least 6 years of supervised specialist training, during which an intermediate examination and a final examination or exit assessment organised individually by the respective College or jointly with an established overseas specialist college should be arranged for the specialist trainees. Academy Colleges are required to regularly review the training curriculum in response to advancement in medicine and changes in workforce demographic, with engagement of external reviewers wherever applicable.
As stipulated in the Medical Registration Ordinance (Cap. 161), the Academy has the statutory power in setting guidelines and accrediting continuing medical education, as well as recommending medical and dental practitioners who fulfil the continuing medical education and continuous professional development (CME / CPD) requirements to the Medical Council of Hong Kong and the Dental Council of Hong Kong for inclusion in the Specialist Registers.
The Academy therefore strives to promote CME / CPD with the first mandatory CME cycle commenced in 1996. All Fellows of the Academy must fulfil CME / CPD requirements to maintain their Fellowship. As per the CME / CPD Principles and Guidelines, Academy Fellows are required to obtain 90 points in a 3-year cycle. Failure to do so will result in removal of the Academy Fellowship. It is a continuous life-long learning process for Academy Fellows to maintain, develop or increase the knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to their respective specialties, as well as to remain competent throughout their professional careers.
Development of Credentialling
The Academy pursues the development of credentialling systems for different specialties to maintain professional continued competence. The system enables only those medical and dental professionals who are properly trained and have the requisite knowledge and experience to perform high-risk procedures in appropriate settings. Credentialling Committees have been set up by the Academy Colleges, which identify existing and emerging high-risk procedures for the respective specialties and to develop common guidelines for credentialing procedures that involve more than one specialty.
Sustainable Supply of Specialist Manpower
The quality of health services relies on a sustainable supply of manpower. The main challenges of local healthcare system are rising demand due to an increasingly ageing population and chronic manpower shortages as public hospital waiting lists surge. Working in partnership with the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and medical institutions, the Academy hopes to identify specialty and subspecialty areas where there are particular needs in the local healthcare system, with considerable input on workload evaluation and forecast of short- and long-term specialist manpower demand in Hong Kong.
One of the initiatives of the Government to alleviate the manpower shortage is to attract non-locally trained doctors to practice in Hong Kong. The Academy and its constituent Colleges have been supporting this endeavour with the prerequisites that the training standards must be maintained and that local graduates should be given priority. The Academy has established mechanisms in place, including Certification for Specialist Registration, to ensure that the training and experience of non-locally trained doctors are on par with those promulgated by respective Academy Colleges, as well as recognizable overseas qualifications for different specialties to facilitate the vetting of experience and qualifications of overseas doctors for undertaking specialist training in Hong Kong.
Promoting Professionalism and Ethics
The Academy has made significant progress towards promoting integrity, ethical conduct and professionalism through the setting up of the Professionalism and Ethics Committee in 2019. The Committee organises a series of seminars and workshops covering a wide range of topics to enhance professional standards with ethical values, which are essential in medical education, and to improve such practices with training needs identified. The Committee is committed to formulating best practice guidelines in areas of advance directives, disclosure, apology and alternative dispute resolutions, genetics and genomics, and social media. The Academy aims to develop, implement and offer training that can support medical and dental specialists in professional and ethical practice.
Integration with Technological Advances
The Academy has been developing IT systems that aim to maximise the effectiveness of the learning process for Academy Fellows and specialist trainees, including an e-portfolio system that collects useful data for detailed analysis in specialist manpower demand and training needs.
The Academy strives to safeguard public health by upholding high-quality postgraduate education and training of medical and dental specialists who are bound by the Hippocratic Oath, keeping abreast of the latest developments, promoting best clinical practice in response to advancements in medicine, and fostering knowledge exchange through collaborative partnerships locally and internationally.