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Message from President

Dear all New Fellows and Members,

I would like to congratulate all of you to become the New Fellows and Members of our College.

This must be a very precious moment of your life that you have reached a new milestone in your career. As President, I respect all your hardwork in achieving this. I also think you will treasure the support of your family, your peers and your mentors, many are in the audience, to make this happen.

May I ask all the New Fellows and Members to rise:

Wave your hands to your family, your peers and your seniors in the audience who have supported you to show your appreciation.

Thank you.

I was Visiting Scholar to Harvard Medical School in June this year. In the centre of the entrance of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, they put up a stature named Asclepius, who was The Ancient Greek God of Healing and Medicine. Asclepius’s hand rests on a single serpent entwined around a rod. The rod and serpent have evolved into Caduceus, the worldwide medical symbol.

Asclepius was the first one to institute the practice of surgery, the art of pharmacology and human healthcare. His healing temples have survived as modern specialist medical centre and therapeutic spa. Temple medicine focused on reassurance, selected drugs, the power of positive thinking, and the curative power of the temple spring.

I am particularly impressed by his methods of 'reassurance' and the 'power of positive thinking'. Not only our patients need them, I think we as physicians also need them, in performance of our clinician duty. And for temple spring, I am sure many of us are big fan of onsen and rotenburo.

We face a lot of challenges in our career as a physician. I hope our College can be a partner with you, as new fellows and members, to face these challenges, be it now or in future.

The College organised a Young Fellows’ Retreat in August this year, comprising members of Young Fellows Committee and also all young fellow representatives of specialty Boards and Committees. We have discussed on Workload, Training, Morale and Expectations of Young Fellows of our College. That was a very fruitful forum and we have heard a lot of good suggestions. The College will follow up on these with programmes and initiatives and at the same time discuss with the appropriate authorities for taking them forward.

The College has established the Sir David Todd Memorial Scholarship to support young and promising fellows. It aims to encourage young Fellows from all Specialties to undertake overseas training of new clinical skills or basic, translational or clinical research, with an objective to create an environment conducive to the advancement of medicine. The donations in support of this is overwhelming. We have now donations approaching 3 million dollars. We have already selected the first Sir David Todd Memorial Scholarship recipient and he will be presented this later in the evening. I would like to thank all the donors again.

This year the College has organized 2 training days in September inviting UK Trainers together with our local experienced trainers to help our trainees taking MRCP PACES. This is very well received. The October PACES passing rate was 38/75 ie 51%, among the highest in the recent 5 years. Our College will continue to support our trainees in training and examinations, to improve the passing rates of Hong Kong further.

We have established the HKCP Scholarship for Medical Students to support and encourage them to undertake clinical or laboratory attachment and research pertaining to the practice and advancement of internal medicine at overseas institutions. 8 students from both CUHK and HKU have been supported and some of them will be here tonight for the certificate presentations.

The Food and Health Bureau has invited Colleges to submit views on Specialist manpower in Hong Kong. Our College is now preparing the document to illustrate our manpower strain and need. This year, the summer surge did not seem to hit Hong Kong as hard as last year. However, our medical wards are persistently overloaded and our medical specialist outpatient clinics are as extremely busy as always. I salute all of you as young doctors who have to deal with the heavy workload and at the same time go through the training and examination. Appreciation is also given to the senior physicians in their supervision and the guidance of the younger generations.

In March, the College senior officials had a discussion with Prof Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food and Health, on various aspects of our College needs: manpower, training, workload and subspecialty developments. She reassured her support to our College and physicians. I am glad that Prof Chan is here as our honorable guest tonight. Thank you Sophia.

We have published the book "Professor Sir David Todd – A Doyen of our Times" in memory of the late and beloved Sir David. And I encourage all the young Fellows and members to read the life of our Founding President. Many of his wisdoms and perspectives will be very inspirational for us pursuing a physician career.

In June this year, I took part in the 500th anniversary celebration of the Royal College of Physicians of London, established in the Era of King Henry VIII of England. Our College now has only 32 years of history. We are young but vibrant. We now have 1843 Fellows, 297 members and 622 trainees, altogether numbered 2,762, as the biggest College in Hong Kong. We rely on you as the new budding physicians to develop the College into one that can support our physicians to face the challenges ahead as well as to help our patients who notably are getting more multi-morbid and aged.

The College continues to work hard on maintenance of professionalism through our credentialing processes, setting of clinical practice guidelines and updated training and assessment methods. I have been actively asking the Specialty Boards and Committees to engage more of you as young fellows in all these processes to help the College to improve, update and excel.

The College continues to support research through Young Investigator Research Grants and Distinguished Research Paper Awards to promote the development of more clinician scientists. Research and innovation are cornerstones to further improvement in our healthcare and I am sure our College Fellows and Members are crucial for such development in Hong Kong.

Academic excellence is also what the College has been striving for. This year we are particularly happy that the new subspecialty of Clinical Toxicology has been established and we had just conferred the First Fellow to 5 of our very senior clinicians as clinical toxicologists. The College now has 18 subspecialties, the largest number in Hong Kong.

Next year in October, our College will have the Joint Annual Scientific Meeting with the Royal College of Physicians of London here in this venue and we will discuss on exciting topics like digital medicine, genomics and genetics, and personalized medicine.

Paraphrase from Asclepius, do think positive and you will be reassured of a bright future, for yourself and for the medical profession taking care of the patients in Hong Kong.

Once again, congratulations to you all and welcome to our big family of the College of Physicians.

Best wishes,
Prof Philip K. T. Li
Hong Kong College of Physicians