Hong Kong Med J 1998;4:311-4 | Number 3, September 1998
Estate doctors and policy on family medicine
JA Dickinson
Department of Community and Family Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 4/F Lek Yuen Health Centre, Shatin, Hong Kong
Estate doctors were dismayed by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service’s publication of a survey of patients leaving clinics after consultations. The data, however, show high levels of satisfaction from patients who consulted estate doctors, and most people (and their families) attended one doctor by choice, contrary to widespread perception of ‘doctor shopping’ in Hong Kong. Aspects of care in Hong Kong could be improved and include short consultation times, limited discussion, and frequent usage of short courses of medication. There is segregation of care: estate doctors see more working-age people and their families, while out-patient departments see older and unemployed people. The report concluded that further development of family medicine is needed in Hong Kong—a conclusion that the Estate Doctors Association shares. The survey demonstrates again some underlying problems of primary medical care in Hong Kong—problems which are largely related to the expectations and learned habits among both doctors and patients, and which must change for Hong Kong health care to reach the level expected in a modern, developed society.
Key words: Health care reform; Hong Kong; Outcome and process assessment (health care); Physician's practice patterns
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