Partner Visit: Dr. Ng Ming Shing
Associate Consultant, Family Medicine & Primary Health Care, Kowloon West Cluster
Hospital Authority Kowloon West Cluster
Dr. Ng appeared in front of us in one of the busiest departments in the hospital. In addition to his clinical work, he also takes care of administration and training duties. Given the heavy workload, what motivates him every day to keep up his morale? “The vision of every doctor is that the patient’s disease gets controlled and improved, and my other satisfaction is that through training new doctors, I see them grow in knowledge and skills, and in turn can help patients in need. Improving clinical services also brings the team work satisfaction,” said Dr Ng. While working to achieve this vision, there are challenges in reality, including insufficient consultation time and increasing patient expectations. “The ideal consultation time is about 8-10 minutes, but the actual situation is often shorter and it is always a challenge to maintain the quality of service in face of the huge demand,” he acknowledged.
Dr. Ng believes that this situation is more apparent in public general out-patient clinic night services. Consultation time during night services is less than that during the day, but the patient conditions are similar. Medical doctors often have to complete basic diagnosis and drug prescription within a very limited timeframe. He agrees that this is not beneficial to the long-term health development of the working class who cannot take sick leave easily. HIA describes this as a health inequity for the working grassroots population. We understand their difficulties in accessing public medical services. The working poor often have long working hours and can only seek medical help after work at night. At the same time, there is a shortage of public out-patient clinic slots, and private doctor fees are expensive, resulting in delayed medical treatment and defaulting follow-up appointments, including minor ailments like cold and flue, as well as chronic diseases like “three highs” (high blood sugar, high blood lipids and high blood pressure) and pain problems.
In our conversation with Dr. Ng, we have explored some ways for improvement and discussed the development of collaboration between the medical and social sectors. He agreed that community support collaboration can more effectively and comprehensively enhance the patient’s ability to manage chronic diseases. We shared HIA’s “Family Health Management Program” with Dr. Ng and his team, the program’s target population are patients with “three highs” who have been recently diagnosed or are under poor disease control. Apart from their usual follow-up appointments in the public sector, this program arranges volunteer healthcare professionals to offer tailored health education and devise personalized treatment plan together with the patients, in order to effectively enhance the patient’s health ownership.
Finally, he shared that the development of an ideal family medicine model involves the collaboration of multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, etc. Asked being about his future personal development, he smiled and said that there would likely not be much changes in the coming few years. It seemed that Dr. Ng still wants to stay in this challenging position, on the one hand to cultivate more future doctors, and on the other hand to help more families improve their health through family medicine and primary care services. Through interacting with newly trained doctors, one can also learn more about one’s own shortcomings and take up a form of life-long learning.
Photo source: Hospital Authority