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Editorial : Protectionism in the medical profession has to be curbed

【明報專訊】AMID dispute over the relaxation of the internship requirement for overseas specialist doctors, the chairman of the Medical Council has cast a tie-breaking vote to support a government-backed proposal, which was subsequently adopted. The proposal, modelled on a "government proposal", was the least restrictive among the three submitted for voting in terms of the exemption of the internship requirement. It can be said that by delivering such an outcome, the Medical Council has reasonably lived up to society's expectations. But it does not mean that protectionism in the medical profession has weakened. The system still has many unreasonable barriers and things that create difficulties for overseas doctors. They make overseas doctors feel humiliated, so much so that even offspring of Hong Kong people baulk at returning to Hong Kong and practise here. Relaxing the internship requirement may not help much if the other restrictions are not lifted. The government must continue to initiate reform in the Medical Council to ensure that the guarantee of professional autonomy does not override the public interest.

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