Taiwan doctors sit exam to practice on mainland

By Chen Hong (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-07 06:51

SHENZHEN: The first group of doctors from Taiwan took the National Qualification Examination for Physicians on Friday, three months after the Ministry of Health announced their eligibility to sit the annual test.

The 262 medics were all tested in South China's Guangdong Province: 137 in Guangzhou, 120 in Shenzhen and five in Zhuhai.

Cheng Hsiao-wei, who runs a cosmetic surgery clinic in Taipei, said he was a little nervous at the start of the exam but soon calmed down.

"We don't have to operate medical equipment or take an oral test in Taiwan," Cheng told reporters after leaving the exam room at Shenzhen People's Hospital.

Friday's exam focused on clinical procedures. It will be followed by a written test on medical theory in September.

"There are many opportunities ahead as more and more Taiwanese are moving to or doing business on the mainland," Cheng said.

"Therefore, the demand for Taiwanese physicians is also on the rise. But before entering the mainland market, we have to become familiar with the environment and learn from our counterparts there."

Thomas Lin, a 33-year-old physician with the Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei, said he hoped the mainland would open up further to Taiwanese doctors.

"It will be more attractive if we are allowed to open private clinics on the mainland after acquiring our qualifications, just like our peers from Hong Kong," Lin told China Daily.

The government recently allowed permanent Hong Kong residents, who have practiced as physicians for at least five years and acquired the appropriate qualifications, to open private clinics on the mainland.

"I think mainland residents will also welcome the increased competition with the entry of Taiwanese private clinics, which could help improve physicians' performance and services," Lin said.

Since April, Taiwanese doctors have been allowed to apply for a one-year work permit for the mainland. At the end of the 12 months they can apply for a renewal.

Wang Liji, an official with the Ministry of Health, said the decision to open up the qualification exam to Taiwanese doctors will encourage the establishment of Taiwan-funded medical institutes and open a new channel for the exchange of healthcare expertise across the Straits.

(China Daily 07/07/2007 page3)

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