Anesthesia in Hong Kong


Hong Kong is an autonomous Special Administrative Region of the Peoples’ Republic of China with a population of 6.2 million people. The medical system in Hong Kong is very similar to that in the UK since the country was a British Colony until very recently. However, since many doctors have done some training in or worked in many other countries, there are many international influences. Australia has probably mostly influenced anaesthetic practice since, prior to the founding of Hong Kong College of Anaesthesiologists in 1992, most trainees followed the syllabus of the Australia & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and became Fellows of this college. The HKCA has now taken full responsibility for this training, hospital accreditation etc. Trainees most work in an approved hospital post in anaesthesia and spend 6 months in another speciality e.g. internal medicine, accident and emergency. They take an intermediate examination that covers basic sciences and statistics after one to two years. After five years training they will be eligible to sit the final examination which covers clinical anaesthesia, physics and intensive care. After passing this, they are provincial fellows for one year during which time they must complete an approved formal project (usually a research paper) before becoming a full Fellow (FHKCA). As a specialist they will then be able to become a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine. Fellows may undertake further training for special accreditation in intensive care or pain management.

The majority of hospitals in Hong Kong are government run and funded through a body called the hospital authority that was established in 1991. There are also private hospitals. Doctors work full-time in either the public or private sector with no crossover. There are two University medical schools. The University of Hong Kong, which is affiliated to Queen Mary Hospital, is the oldest institution and is currently celebrating its 110th anniversary. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is affiliated to the Prince of Wales Hospital. Together they train around 300 doctors per year. Anaesthesiology is part of the undergraduate curriculum and both have departments of anaesthesia within the medical faculty where teaching, research and clinical work are performed.

After graduation, all doctors work as "housemen" for 1 year (6 months medicine, 6 months surgery) before becoming fully registered. If they choose to become an anaesthetist, then the doctor would seek a College approved Medical Officer position and commence training with a view to obtaining the FHKCA. Having become a Fellow of the Hong Kong College of Anaesthesiologists and the Academy of Medicine, they would then be eligible for a senior Medical Officer post where they effectively work autonomously as a specialist. After at least two years at this level they are then eligible for a consultant post but competition at this level is particularly intense and many doctors opt for private practice.

The College requires all Fellows to continue their medical education in order to maintain accreditation. This is done on a points system and most anaesthetic departments run a CME program on Saturday mornings.

Dr. M. G. Irwin
Associate Professor
University of Hong Kong
Department of Anaesthesiology
Room 415, K Block
Queen Mary Hospital
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2819 5795
Fax: (852) 2855 1654