Are there any patterns of health staff vacancies that have been identified in the health system? | Hong Kong SAR Are there any patterns of health staff vacancies that have been identified in the health system? | Hong Kong SAR

17 Aug 2022

In Hong Kong, there is general shortage of healthcare manpower in the health system (Food and Health Bureau, 2017b). According to the Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff, the nurse-to-patient ratio of night-shifts in public hospitals in 2013 was 1:24. This means that each nurse needed to take care of 24 patients on average, and such ratio was far worse than the international standard at 1:6 (HKSAR Government, 2018, April 25). In 2016-2017, there was a shortage of 300 doctors and 600 nurses. By projection to 2030, there will be a shortage of over 1,000 doctors and 1,600 nurses (HKSAR Government, 2017, July 12). The actual workforce requirements of health services are projected from 138,000 in 2017 to 183,800 in 2027. The projected average annual rate of change is +2.9% (Census and Statistics Department, 2019d).

The Hospital Authority has been implementing various measures to retain staff and alleviate the tight workforce situation of frontline nursing staff, including continuous recruitment of nurses, ward clerks and assistants, establishment of the Special Retired and Rehire Scheme, enhancement of promotion and training opportunities, improvement of work environment, enhancement of preceptorship support, and reinstating the annual increment mechanism (HKSAR Government, 2018, April 25). To address workforce shortages in the short-term, the Hospital Authority has employed non-locally trained doctors with limited registration to practise in Hong Kong (HKSAR Government, 2017, July 12). Besides, the Government has substantially increased the number of funded healthcare training places by about 60% (about 1,800 students) over the past 10 years. It also encouraged self-financing institutions to provide more subsidised training places (about 860 students) for healthcare professionals in the 2018/19 academic year (HKSAR Government, 2018, April 25).


Census and Statistics Department. (2019d). Report on Manpower Projection to 2027. Retrieved from https://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B1050016E2019XXXXE0100.pdf

Food and Health Bureau. (2017b). Report of the Strategic Review on Healthcare Manpower Planning and Professional Development.

HKSAR Government. (2017, July 12). LCQ17: Manpower of healthcare professionals [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201707/12/P2017071200517.htm?fontSize=1

HKSAR Government. (2018, April 25). LCQ19: Healthcare manpower [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201804/25/P2018042500725.htm?fontSize=1