Planning for Healthcare Needs

If you’re in the process of planning a move to Hong Kong, then you’ll need to visit a doctor at some stage, whether that’s to get some antibiotics, or a referral letter to see a specialist. From a trip to the Accident & Emergency department for a sprain or break to the management of existing health problems like asthma or diabetes, you’re sure to make a hospital trip at some point, too, be that for yourself or a member of the family.

With top-notch medical facilities and staff available to everyone, Hong Kong has one of the best healthcare services in the world, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2023, Hong Kong’s healthcare system has been ranked as the 19th best in the world, 2nd best in Asia, by Legatum Institute’s healthcare index.

With low fees thanks to subsidies provided by the Government, you don’t have to worry about finances should you happen to fall ill. There are remarkably low hospital charges available to anyone holding a valid Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID): an overnight stay in a public hospital, for instance, would only set you back around HK$100-120 (US$13-15.50) per day, plus an admission fee of HK$75 (US$9.50). From Accident & Emergency care to planned care, the cost of treatment is particularly impressive considering the standard of healthcare received, and the government also provides a fee-waiving mechanism for vulnerable groups including those who are chronically ill, on low incomes and the elderly. 

Just need a quick trip to the doctor to pick up a prescription, or get medicine for a lingering cold? There are clinics on every corner and you can walk in and register to make an appointment there and then. Alternatively, you can search for a doctor online at the Primary Care Directory, which provides the doctors’ contact details, qualifications, languages they speak and consultation fees among other details. If you’re pregnant or travelling with a baby in tow, antenatal and postnatal care, well women services and childhood vaccinations take place at 34 dedicated public Maternal and Child Health Centres across the city. The Child Assessment Service, meanwhile, helps children with childhood developmental problems including dyslexia and language delay.

The Hospital Authority (HA) manages 43 public hospitals and institutions, 49 Specialist Out-patient Clinics and 74 General Out-patient Clinics (GOPCs) across the city. Hong Kong citizens are first encouraged to visit a GOPC or private family doctor when they need medical assistance. The public hospitals and clinics are organised into seven hospital clusters based on location. Check out the distribution of Clusters, Hospitals & Institutions and find out which is closest to your home: it’s always good to be prepared should you get sick, after all. With around 18 public hospitals across Hong Kong providing A&E services, you’re never too far away from help.

If you’re in Hong Kong working for a big firm, then chances are your corporate package will include private healthcare so you might not even need to set foot inside a public hospital. If your employer doesn’t provide private health care as a perk, you can always arrange your own private health insurance for you and your family. With 13 registered hospitals, the private sector offers a diverse range of services whatever your ailments may be. The Department of Health regulates all private hospitals and medical clinics registered under the Medical Clinics Ordinance. In between accessing the support of expert medical teams, patients can expect world-class services: some hospitals even provide patients with the option of five-star hotel meals. Most medical staff can speak good English, Mandarin and some other foreign languages so there’s no need to worry about the language barrier. Patients staying in private hospitals can expect much shorter waiting times and longer visiting hours, too. Opting to visit a private doctor will usually mean you can choose a specialist according to your own requirements, with shorter waiting times than the public system.

In addition to the quality of Hong Kong healthcare, the variety of advanced medical services available in the city is impressive. Whatever ails you, there will be a centre or clinic where you can receive specialist treatment. There are chest clinics, clinical genetic service centres, maternal and child health centres, women’s health centres and plenty of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) options.

When it comes to booking doctor’s appointments, it really couldn’t be easier. The Hospital Authority’s mobile app, HA Go, is a one-stop mobile platform designed to improve patient experience and empowers them to manage their own health. With HA Go, you can check appointments made in HA hospitals or clinics, pay bills and drug charges, book appointments for general outpatient services, view medication and perform rehabilitation exercises. Book GOPC is another mobile app that enables you to book General Out-patient Clinic appointments for yourself and others anytime and anywhere.