Healthcare professionals who are not subject to statutory regulation in Hong Kong are usually adopting a "self-regulation" mode, mostly through voluntary, society-based registration. Under society-based registration, a professional body administers a registration system and promulgates a list of its members to which that member of the public looking for such services can make reference. Some professional bodies also develop quality assurance and disciplinary mechanisms to better uphold the professional standards of their members.
While recognising the importance and effectiveness of voluntary society-based registration, the Government considered that, after a survey of both local circumstances and international experience, a scheme could be set up to promote good service standards for the professions and provide more information to members of the public who intend to use their services.
Voluntary accreditation could provide a means whereby healthcare practitioners that meet certain standards can be identified so as to enable the public and patients to make informed choices about the provision of healthcare services.
In the 2016 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced that based on the preliminary results of the Strategic Review on Healthcare Manpower Planning and Professional Development, the Government will launch a voluntary accredited registers scheme for supplementary healthcare professions.
Accredited Registers Scheme for Healthcare Professions (AR Scheme)
The AR Scheme aims to enhance the current society-based registration arrangement under the principle of professional autonomy, with a view to ensuring the professional competency of healthcare personnel and providing more information to the public so as to facilitate them to make informed decision.
The AR Scheme will operate under the principle of "one profession, one professional body, one register". For each profession, the Accreditation Agent appointed by the Department of Health will accredit one professional body that has met the prescribed standards under the Scheme. The accredited professional body shall be responsible for administering the register of its profession. The Accreditation Agent will assess whether a professional body has met the prescribed standards.
Upon accreditation, members of the public may look up the registers of healthcare professionals through the accredited healthcare professional bodies. Accredited healthcare professional bodies would be permitted to use an Accreditation Mark on their websites and on the Certificate of Registration issued to their members. Members of the accredited professional organisations can use a specific title on the name cards.
The pilot AR Scheme will, initially, cover the existing 15 non-statutorily regulated healthcare professions within the Health Services functional constituency of the Legislative Council * . These professions may, having regard to their own aspirations and circumstances, opt to apply for the pilot scheme voluntarily.
The AR Scheme was reported to the Panel on Health Services of Legislative Council in May 2016 and was supported by the members.
If healthcare professionals other than the above-mentioned have a genuine interest in applying for the pilot scheme, their application would be considered on a case-by-case basis, with priority accorded to the above-mentioned 15 healthcare professions.
The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has been appointed as the Accreditation Agent for the pilot AR Scheme. Interested parties may refer to the details of the pilot AR Scheme at https://www.sphpc.cuhk.edu.hk/ar .
|The 15 non-statutorily regulated healthcare professions include audiologists, audiology technicians, chiropodists/podiatrists, clinical psychologists, dental surgery assistants, dental technicians/technologists, dental therapists, dietitians, dispensers, educational psychologists, mould laboratory technicians, orthoptists, prosthetists/orthotists, scientific officers (medical) and speech therapists.