It is one of those things you do not like thinking about before you are actually forced to: what to do when you need a doctor in Hong Kong. We hope that it will not be necessary for you to see a doctor at all. However, as chances are quite high that you will need the services of a doctor in Hong Kong, we will provide you with details about medical care and appointments.
Hong Kong is among those countries which hold the dismal record of having the world’s highest medical costs. For those taking advantage of the public healthcare system when seeing a doctor in Hong Kong, the government will pay most of these costs. However, if you choose to rely on private healthcare instead, get a good Hong Kong health insurance before making an appointment with a doctor in Hong Kong. Otherwise, you might be faced with enormous bills for treatment. If the usual remedies do not help you, why not try traditional Chinese medicine instead? Moreover, we will tell you exactly where to find the right doctor in Hong Kong, what to consider when making an appointment and what to do in case of an emergency.
When it comes to healthcare standards and easy availability of a qualified doctor, even a specialist, Hong Kong is a very comfortable place for expats to live in. Medical services are up to Western standards, and the qualifications of any doctor in Hong Kong are usually excellent. Furthermore, virtually every doctor in Hong Kong speaks English. However, medical care in Hong Kong is separated into the public medical system and private healthcare.
The government provides public healthcare to all residents of Hong Kong, including non-permanent residents. Therefore, if you are staying in Hong Kong with a valid visa for expatriates and are in possession of a Hong Kong ID card, you are eligible for public healthcare. Hong Kong has a comprehensive public healthcare system, including hospitals, clinics and specialist care. Fees at any public clinic are regulated by the government and are very moderate, especially when compared to the prices for private clinics. In general, you pay HKD 100 for the first visit, plus HKD 10 for any medication you might need. Keep in mind that the exact fees vary, depending on the type of medical service you need.
For children, the Hong Kong Department of Health additionally runs about 31 child and maternal healthcare centers to turn to when having a baby in Hong Kong. These centers do not only provide immunizations and preventive screenings for children, but also offer family planning advice and regular health screenings for women. Most services are available either free of charge or for a relatively low fee. For more information, check the website of the Hong Kong Family Health Service.
However, lots of expats choose to rely on private healthcare instead. Waiting times are much shorter and many believe the quality standards of the private system to be higher. As prices in the private medical sector are usually exceptionally high, varying from HKD 200 to as much as HKD 3,000 for a general consultation, it is strongly recommended to acquire private health insurance.
Another distinction which can be made within the private healthcare sector is that between Western physicians and local doctors. Some people might prefer being treated by one of the numerous doctors from Western countries practicing in Hong Kong. However, be aware of the fact that a Western doctor is likely to charge you two or three times as much as a local doctor. Local doctors have, however, the same qualifications and expert knowledge; most have even graduated from the same Western universities as foreign doctors.
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