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Demand and supply of medical, nursing and allied health professionals

LEGCO QUESTION No. 10


Date of Meeting: 7 June 2000



Asked by : The Hon Michael HO

Replied by : SEM

Question :

Regarding the demand and supply of medical, nursing and allied health professionals, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:

  1. in respect of the graduates of each medical and health care profession, of the number and percentage of those who obtained employment within six months upon graduation, and among them, the percentage of those who are employed in areas related to their studies and their average starting salaries, in each of the past five years;

  2. of the annual changes in the number of tertiary places for various medical and health care professions in the past five years and the reasons for such changes;

  3. of the anticipated employment situation of graduates in various medical and health care professions this year; and

  4. of the progress made by the University Grants Committee in planning tertiary places for various medical and health care professions for the 2001/02 to 2003/04, the professions which require adjustments in the number of tertiary places, and whether, in making such adjustments, it has considered the needs of primary health care service development; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?


Reply:

Madam President,

a. According to the information provided by the University Grants Committee(UGC)-funded institutions based on their annual graduate employment surveys, the employment situation of full-time graduates of medical and allied health first degree programmes as at the end of the graduation year in the past five years is as follows :

(1) Medicine(1)
Year of graduation 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates 258 256 291 285 313
No. of responded graduates 104
(40%)
98
(32%)
119
(41%)
198
(69%)
234
(75%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment 104
(100%)
97
(99%)
119
(100%)
196
(99%)
229
(98%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline(2) 104
(100%)
97
(100%)
119
(100%)
196
(100%)
229
(100%)
Average annual starting salary(3) 533,000? 578,000? 601,000? 628,000? 600,000?


(2) Nursing
Year of graduation 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates 82 87 82 83 156
No. of responded graduates 72
(88%)
75
(86%)
60
(73%)
62
(75%)
135
(87%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment 67
(93%)
69
(92%)
58
(97%)
60
(97%)
130
(96%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline 65
(97%)
67
(97%)
56
(97%)
59
(98%)
125
(96%)
Average annual starting salary 269,000? 289,000? 301,000? 295,000? 266,000?


(3) Dental Surgery
Year of graduation 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates 37 38 36 42 50
No. of responded graduates 34
(92%)
36
(95%)
32
(89%)
40
(95%)
29
(58%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment 34
(100%)
31
(86%)
30
(94%)
40
(100%)
29
(100%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline> 34
(100%)
31
(100%)
30
(100%)
40
(100%)
29
(100%)
Average annual starting salary 313,000? 323,000? 325,000? 304,000? 264,000?


(4) Optometry
Year of graduation 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates 33 18 25 26 33
No. of responded graduates 28
(85%)
13
(72%)
20
(80%)
55
(85%)
32
(97%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment 26
(93%)
12
(92%)
20
(100%)
19
(86%)
28
(88%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline 23
(88%)
12
(100%)
20
(100%)
18
(95%)
26
(93%)
Average annual starting salary 196,000? 230,000? 276,000? 199,000? 189,000?


(5) Occupational Therapy
Year of graduation 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates 39 48 49 43 49
No. of responded graduates 34
(87%)
40
(83%)
49
(100%)
41
(95%)
49
(100%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment 34
(100%)
40
(100%)
46
(94%)
39
(95%)
46
(94%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline 34
(100%)
40
(100%)
46
(100%)
35
(90%)
42
(91%)
Average annual starting salary 219,000? 235,000? 240,000? 248,000? 236,000?


(6) Pharmacy
Year of graduation 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates 31 30 33 31 29
No. of responded graduates 30
(97%)
30
(100%)
23
(70%)
26
(84%)
27
(93%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment 29
(97%)
30
(100%)
22
(96%)
26
(100%)
27
(100%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline 29
(100%)
30
(100%)
22
(100%)
26
(100%)
26
(96%)
Average annual starting salary 150,000? 162,000? 167,000? 181,000? 181,000?


(7) Physiotherapy
Year of graduation 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates 74 71 64 81 99
No. of responded graduates 59
(80%)
58
(82%)
63
(98%)
70
(86%)
97
(98%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment 59
(100%)
58
(100%)
63
(100%)
65
(93%)
63
(65%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline 58
(98%)
58
(100%)
62
(98%)
65
(100%)
45
(71%)
Average annual starting salary 219,000? 234,000? 236,000? 241,000? 230,000?


(8) Prosthetics & Orthotics
Year of graduation(4) 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates - - - 18 26
No. of responded graduates - - - 15
(83%)
25
(96%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment - - - 15
(100%)
18
(72%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline - - - 12
(80%)
12
(67%)
Average annual starting salary - - - 221,000? 157,000?


(9) Radiography
Year of graduation 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates 58 68 65 69 70
No. of responded graduates 50
(86%)
57
(83%)
54
(83%)
61
(88%)
66
(94%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment 50
(100%)
56
(98%)
50
(93%)
46
(75%)
51
(77%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline 48
(96%)
56
(100%)
48
(96%)
33
(72%)
35
(69%)
Average annual starting salary 219,000? 236,000? 243,000? 217,000? 145,000?


(10) Speech & Hearing Sciences
Year of graduation 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
No. of full-time graduates 19 14 19 18 29
No. of responded graduates 16
(84%)
12
(86%)
18
(94%)
18
(100%)
28
(97%)
No. of responded graduates in full-time employment 16
(100%)
11
(92%)
18
(100%)
17
(94%)
27
(96%)
No. of responded graduates employed in areas related to their own discipline 15
(94%)
8
(73%)
17
(94%)
17
(100%)
25
(93%)
Average annual starting salary 238,000? 242,000? 271,000? 284,000? 275,000?
  1. The results of graduate employment surveys on medical graduates refer to the employment situation after the 1-year internship. The number of full-time medical graduates refers to the graduates a year ago, i.e. before the internship. CUHK started to conduct graduate employment survey on medical graduates in 1998. Figures before 1998 referred to the number of graduates of the University of Hong Kong only.
  2. The percentage in bracket shows the ratio of responded graduates in full-time employment who are engaged in jobs related to their own disciplines.
  3. Average annual starting salary includes commission and other cash allowance.
  4. As the programme was launched in the 1995/96 academic year, the first batch of intakes graduated in 1998.
b. Annual changes in undergraduate intakes of medical and allied health disciplines in the past five years are as follows :

Disciplines 1996/97 1997/98 1998/99 1999/2000
(1) Medical +12
(+3.7%)
-4
(-1.2%)
-3
(-0.9%)
-19
(-5.7%)
(2) Nursing +21
(+10.9%)
-1
(-0.5%)
-14
(-6.6%)
-7
(-3.5%)
(3) Dental Surgery -4
(-7.1%)
+2
(+3.8%)
-9
(-16.7%)
+5
(+11.1%)
(4) Optometry +1
(+3.4%)
0 -4
(-13.3%))
0
(5) Occupational Therapy +12
(+27.3%)
-2
(-3.6%)
+36
(+66.7%)
-2
(-2.2%)
(6) Pharmacy -1
(-3.4%)
-1
(-3.6%)
+5
(+18.5%)
-2
(-6.3%)
(7) Physiotherapy +24
(+30.0%)
-5
(-4.8%)
+50
(+50.5%)
-4
(-2.7%)
(8) Prosthetics & Orthotics +2
(+8.3%)
-1
(-3.8%)
-1
(-4.0%)
0
(9) Radiography 0 0 -6
(-8.7%)
0
(10) Speech & Hearing Sciences -6
(-16.7%)
+14
(+46.7%)
-5
(-11.4%)
0

The Government regularly reviews the demand of public and private medical and health care institutions for medical and allied health professionals as well as the employment situation of fresh graduates of the relevant programmes. Based on these reviews, the Government discusses with the UGC on whether it is necessary to adjust the student numbers of these programmes in the context of the triennial planning for the institutions. Within each triennium, the institutions also have considerable freedom to adjust the planned student numbers in different disciplines to meet changes in society's manpower needs, provided that no additional resources are involved, that there is no deviation from their agreed roles and missions, and that the adjustment is in line with the student number targets set by the Government for specific professions.
c. We have reviewed the projected demand in the public sector for medical and allied health professionals in 2000/01, and estimated that the overall vacancies this year opened to the fresh graduates of these programmes should be more or less the same as those of last year.
d. The planning of the UGC-funded institutions for the 2001/02 to 2003/04 triennium is still being finalised. In adjusting the student numbers of medical doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals, we will consider the supply and demand of these professionals over the medium to long term. We will ensure that any adjustment is consistent with the need arising from the longer term development of the health care system, which calls for regular review of not only the numbers of student intake but also the curriculum of the training programmes. The future health care system will have more emphasis on primary health care, ambulatory care and community care programmes. This will result in greater demand for a multi-skilled health care workforce. We will encourage the tertiary institutions to review and re-organize their training programmes to meet this challenge.
Last revision date: 07 June 2000
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