Overseas nurses are not needed

8/8/2011 SCMP


I refer to the report (Overseas nurses may ease shortage, July 26).

First, under the Nurses Registration Ordinance, Cap 164, there is no provision for limited or temporary registration.

Those non-local-trained nurses who would like to practise nursing in Hong Kong must first pass the licensing examination prior to becoming eligible for registration.

If the government or the Hospital Authority, in the name of easing the shortage, allows those non-local-trained nurses to practise nursing in public hospitals without first going through the legally defined standard, how could the quality of health care services be ensured?

Besides, as Secretary for Food and Health Dr York Chow Yat-ngok mentioned earlier, the most difficult time regarding the nursing shortage was over, so why do we still need to recruit nurses from overseas?

Obviously, recruiting nurses from overseas is not the right solution to tackle the problem of the nursing shortage in Hong Kong. Rather, the government should address the fundamentals:

To establish a reasonable nurse-patient ratio in public hospitals, as, without a defined ratio, it would be impossible to project the number of nurses appropriate for the service;

To formulate a five- to 10-year policy on nurse training that is consistent with the projection; and

To channel optimal resources to universities to help materialise the required number of training places for nurses.

With this kind of long-term human resources planning, then, hopefully, in future years, a shortage of nurses will not be a problem.

Last Updated: 2011-08-18