Health Care in Hong Kong

by Jose Marc Castro on August 8, 2009

healthcareCANADAThe overall healthcare system in Hong Kong is one issue that needs to be fully discussed especially for anyone who has plans of living in this Asian region. The health care system in Hong Kong is not a problem since they have hospitals with the highest standards and medical practitioners who are the best in their chosen fields of specialization.The system is a medical infrastructure consisting of a mixed medical economy between public and private hospitals.

Being one of the world’s fastest growing cities, Hong Kong is haven to shopaholics because of its thousands of shops that provide very good quality items at more affordable rates. This in turn has encouraged people from all across the globe to contemplate on staying at this scenic and fully developed city. However, the health care system of Hong Kong is one issue emigrants are most concerned about.

The health care system of Hong Kong is actually the least of the worries for anyone who is planning to stay in Hong Kong. For those emergency situations, police, doctors, and hospitals are always ready to assist. In fact, Hong Kong is similar with all other European cities, as far as the standard, is concerned. These emergency units independently run from its particular mainland.

Generally, Hong Kong health care is quite good. Private and public systems are available. For those normal day to day complaints, expatriates can seek help to their private medical practitioners and the cost of these may be fully covered by the employer-provided health plans. However, emigrants should carefully check for job packages offered in Hong Kong since health plans tremendously vary in amounts of coverage and restrictions of doctors, and some other particular concerns. For more serious concerns like child birth and surgeries, other expats make use of public hospitals, while there are still some that don’t. Again, the decision normally depends upon what is covered in a particular health plan, where to locate the best specialists (and in fact, these specialists are normally found in public teaching hospitals.

Some Factors to Consider in Hong Kong

While most emigrants are fine with seeking medical advice from local medical specialists, there are also some expats still insist on being treated carefully by westerner doctors. This is also possible but then the cost could become way too expensive. Emigrants who prefer to be treated by doctors who are westerners should be aware that they will be paying large amounts of premiums on their health care costs. In fact, most westerner doctors are likely to charge more than double, compared to a local doctor who has similar qualifications and expertise.

Emigrants should not worry much about finding the right medical specialists in Hong Kong as most of the Hong Kong Chinese doctors earned their medical degrees from top universities in the United States and some other western countries. In essence, finding a local western-trained doctor is not at all difficult.

Medical Equipment and Tools in Hong Kong

Since Hong Kong is a fast rising tourist destination, it is normal to hear westerners planning to emigrate in this booming city. Health care system is a little issue. With the many western-trained doctors at Hong Kong, along with the latest and the most state-of-the-art medical equipments, expatriates should not be concerned at all. In fact, Hong Kong is the leading manufacturer of medical equipments and supplies.

Health Care Cons of Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s healthcare standards are comparable to many major European cities. Although Hong Kong has the best doctors and the most equipped hospitals with state-of-the-art medical equipment, there are some things that expatriates should be wary about. There have been some recorded incidents of over-prescriptions. Some of these prescriptions are normally for those minor colds and some other similar ailments. The local government has dealt about these issues properly by instituting “good practice” and there have been a great decline of these problems today. It has been curbed but it still exists. These are very notable among some local doctors in different housing estates that compete for patients who demand for those ‘quick fixes’ to obtain powerful drugs available. But then again, these concerns only happen if the patient relatively allows it to.

Health Insurance for Hong Kong Expatriates

Next to the United States, Hong Kong and China fall second as the highest medical costs in the World. Expatriates that live and work in this place, or are still planning to settle down, finding the right insurance company is very important. There are a lot of insurance companies in the city these days, as the number of emigrants keeps increasing all the more.

Health Care of Hong Kong Today

Tremendous strides have long been made to further improve the quality of health care in all the public hospitals in Hong Kong after the Hong Kong Hospital Authority finally took over management more than a decade ago. The levels of services today, both in availability of newer technologies and access to the best quality care can now surpass those of the highly developed countries.

Aside from providing quality equipment, medical practitioners are also trained with ‘good’ practice. With good practice, it means that they are required to have active participations in trainings as well as continuing educations, clinical audits, attendance of clinical management meetings, community care participations, and contributions to clinical research, teaching, and data.

Those who are planning to live in Hong Kong should pay a visit to their respective international health insurance advisor and ask for free quotations and professional advice. These professionals are ever ready to provide detailed advice that matches one’s international health insurance needs.

Before finally considering on emigrating in Hong Kong, take time to read and learn about the different private health policies offered in the city. With the aid of the Internet, looking for details and information regarding health insurance in Hong Kong is very convenient. Have some thorough checks on different websites that offer varied health insurance policies.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Budding HK medic January 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm

"as most of the Hong Kong Chinese doctors earned their medical degrees from top universities in the United States and some other western countries. In essence, finding a local western-trained doctor is not at all difficult."

I was struck by the impropriety of such a condescending (and inaccurate) remark.

Doctors who are trained in other countries are unlikely to return to HK as they have to re-do their internship there (even if they have 10 years of experience), and furthermore they have to study and pass a converstion test with 90% fail rate (because the standards in HK are high). Hong Kong has a medical course of its own and many doctors take their MBBSes there. They may go abroad to seek second degrees or do research in universities abroad but HK trained doctors are not inferior, to say, doctors trained in BMAT universities (Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial). It's an extremely competitive course and you shouldn't make it sound as though Hong Kong doctors are inferior to 'Western' ones. The East/West gap in Medicine was sealed years ago- Medicine is a global effort.


IRG February 14, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Don’t be so paranoid ‘Budding HK Medic’, people of whatever provenance, when outside of the familiarity of their own culture /familiar ethno-linguistic setting, will question the quality of Medical doctors in countries other than their own, it is a perfectly natural reaction.


Cozy March 30, 2010 at 9:46 am

Can anyone tell me what it’s like going into a Hong Kong hospital? In China and Thailand, you don’t have to have an appointment at all, and you can get your stuff done pretty fast instead of having to wait a few days like in America. How does it work there? I need to get an endoscopy done while I’m there, and I’ll only be there for two days. Do I need to call ahead, or can I just walk in and get an endoscopy in no time?



Commonsense August 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Virtually all the private hospitals in Hong Kong are independently surveyed and accredited every two years by the QHA-Trent Healthcare Accreditation scheme from the United Kingdom (see

This process is completely independent of external interference (and not government-run), and it has ensured that the standards of patient care in the HK private hospitals are extremely high, with the risk to patients and staff being minimised and safety maximised. Groups like International SOS make great use of HK private hospitals to evacuate patients to from countries where the hospitals are not so good.

Hong Kong has two medical schools, both based on the UK model for training rather than the American model – one is at the University of HK (MBBS) and the other at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (MBChB). Both produce excellent graduates.

After graduating, Hong Kong doctors will subsequently study for the Fellowships of the various HK Postgraduate Academies/Colleges, as well the UK-sourced Royal College exams for hospital specialists, the MRCP(UK) for physicians and the MRCS(UK) for surgeons. These exams are extremely difficult to pass, and involve a serious of rigorous and intensive written and hands-on practical examinations.

Hong Kong private hospitals and the local doctors and nurses who work in them are genuinely first rate, there is absolutely no doubt about that. You are very safe if you put yourself in their care.


singaporecopywriters September 27, 2010 at 7:06 am

Im an expat living in Hong Kong and being covered by Global Health Asia
I want to say Im very happy and satisfied with their services


NYtoHK September 30, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Hi, I need some help! My husband and I are relocating to HK for work. The insurance package the company offers has many options and I have no idea how much hospitalization in HK costs. The options range from $700 per day to $3000 per day coverage. If we are in a hospital that charges more than the allowance, we have to pay the difference. How much does a good hospital charge? Would $700 a day send me to the worst hospital?


MIR December 2, 2010 at 4:21 am

Health insurance is confusing as it should be tailored to your needs, try a broker like Alliance who can compare the marker for you


jbhk February 11, 2011 at 12:42 am

Where is your statistic come from that Hong Kong and China have the second most expensive medical costs in the world? If you are a Hong Kong resident, you only pay HK$100 (about US$25) for using an emergency room and another HK$100 to stay each night. If you are not a Hong Kong resident, you will need to pay more, but it will still reasonable.

I feel like this article is written by just from a person's opinion but not necessary telling the fact!!


Libertarian March 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm

get real people, public hospitals usually give a 2 years hold for a body check up, i never imagine this place was like that, ¿ European standards? come on dont make the world laugh. Hong Kong Sucks, the worst place in the planet. ¿European standards?…Bullshit.


John April 29, 2011 at 3:37 am

I live in HK and my experience with the doctors here has been excellent. I find them to be caring, very well informed and it's easy to get an appointment. Currently I went to a top notch cardiologist and discovered I have a severely leaking heart valve and may have to face surgery but I'm confident the doctors are excellent. When i saw that remark about HK being expensive I laughed. Medical in this country is very affordable. It costs about $400 U.S. a night for a private hospital room at the best hospital in HK. In the USA it would cost you $300 for a damn aspirin if you were in the hospital.


Angie Locke June 10, 2011 at 5:23 am

Dear John
I am on the hunt for a "top notch" cardiologist having recently discovered I need some testing. Who did you see and where (if you don't mind me asking).


Airyn October 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

TRUE DAT! Do you suppose aspirin is so expensive due to some Willow Tree shortage?? So unfortunate we have to pay an arm and a leg just to breath the air of a Doc in the US.


Renny May 31, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Yeah, I would like to know about the cardiologist as well. Thank you.


icycool May 29, 2011 at 5:26 am

Does deductible and co-insurance applies to the health insurance?


Zink June 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I need help to find a top hospital and doctor for lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in Hong Kong. Any recommendation?


Guest September 5, 2011 at 2:40 am

Hi Zink,

For my hernia operation, I used Dr. Donald Grieg based in Jardine House, Central. A Google search should help you locate his practice. He is expensive so check if your insurance would cover use of his services.



Zink June 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I am looking for a top hospital and Doctor for lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in Hong Kong. Any recommendation?



lam June 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I know that there isn't a NHS in HK so im wondering if poor people have any access to health care? Can they receive treatment or surgery when they cannot afford the fees?


Health Insurance July 26, 2011 at 7:18 am

Healthcare in HK is costly and if you go to see a doctor, please, be prepared to spend a lot for a visit. However the quality of the services is rather good and doctors are very attentive also!


lee duploy November 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Vitamin D

It may surprise many to know that allthough Hong Kong is bathed in sunshine most of the time,there is a very large part of the population which is vitamin d deficient.
The issue is contentious but there are inherint factors involved in defienciency of this vitamin, especially in people with bone density problems.
It may be expensive to check this defiency which in my opninion as a researcher , is on par with undiagnosed hypertension and diabetis.
Deffinitely worth a check.

lee du ploy HK………


Dror January 29, 2012 at 2:54 am

My private health insurance premium for me and my wife increases in a rate of 15-20% annually.Is it a normal increase rate? Am I being scammed?


Phoebe March 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Anyone know how Diabetics are treated in HK? My husband is insulin dependent and we are looking to live in HK for work?


Leon February 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

just walked into a clinic to see a doc and they said it would cost 100hk not including medicine and then walked down the block to a different one and it was 350hk to see the doc so i guess it depends which one u go to, seems pretty cheap though but i still ended up just going to the pharmacy instead for medical advice


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