A Hong Kong nursing agency is taking advantage of the system by hiring nurses trained in mainland China, Joseph Lee Kok-long, the chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff, told Apple Daily.

A job advertisement seeking “Chinese trained nurses” for part-time and shift work was posted by the Quality HealthCare Nursing Agency, part of the Quality HealthCare group, on July 15. According to the job advertisement, the nurses will be responsible for taking over shifts at hospitals and providing residential care. They will also be responsible for at-home and in-hospital private care.

Quality Healthcare Nursing Agency. Photo: Website screencap via Stand News.

Lee said that Chinese trained nurses have not received accreditation from Hong Kong. However, under current law, if they don’t call themselves registered nurses or register as a nurse, and if their job does not involve duties of the nursing profession – such as giving injections – it will not be illegal, he said.

Quality Healthcare published a press release on Monday saying that all of Quality HealthCare’s professional nurses are accredited in Hong Kong. The nursing agency “provides health care referral services, including professional nurses, health workers, caregivers, health services assistants,” it said.

Joseph Lee Kok-long. Photo: TVB screencap via Stand News.

It added that “[those] who have nursing qualifications in China – their work is only limited to personal care, such as accompanying patients to the doctor’s, feeding, cleaning and bathing…” and said that “they absolutely do not engage in any work which is the responsibility of professional nurses.”

The company said that there are currently 10 staff members with Chinese trained nurse qualifications engaged in personal health care work.

Nurses in Hong Kong. Photo: Apple Daily.

According to a list on the company’s website, the agency charges HK$2,450 per 12 hours of care service from nurses registered in Hong Kong, while it charges only HK$1,045 for 12 hours of service provided by Chinese trained nurses.

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Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.