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Insufficient public dental services caused concern, and legislators called for improvement as soon as possible

April 25, 2024


The Hong Kong Audit Commission recently released a new audit report, stating that from 2014 to 2019, the service quota for government dental clinics was approximately 40,000 per year. However, from 2019 to 2023, the number of service quotas dropped sharply from 40,322 to 20,337, highlighting the serious shortage of dental doctors and preventing the government from increasing the dental quota. Audit Commission staff observed that some clinics had queues starting at 5 p.m., and residents had to wait at least 7 hours to complete initial registration. The report emphasized that this service arrangement needed to be optimized urgently.

 

LegCo member Ben Chan agreed with the Audit Commission's report and believed that introducing more dentists and developing auxiliary medical professions would help improve public dental services. He emphasized that the current public dental services were seriously insufficient. There were only 11 public dental services in Hong Kong, and the 40 dental outpatient centers under the Department of Health only provided about 4,000 free quotas every month, which was insufficient in meeting the needs of the public.

 

Ben Chan mentioned the DAB "Dental Service Development Blueprint and Public Dental Service Policy Initiative" and expressed hopes that the Government would make reference to the benchmarks and goals for dental service in the next ten years.


Ben Chan also expressed support for the government’s recent amendment to the Dentists Registration (Amendment) Bill  and believed that the amendment would help improve the dental manpower shortage problem.


The Audit Commission’s report and Ben Chan’s initiatives would inject new impetus into the reform and development of public dental services. Faced with the growing demand for dental services from the public, the Government and all sectors of society needed to work together to promote the implementation and improvement of relevant policies, to improve dental care for the public.



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