Welcome to our country guide providing economic, healthcare and health insurance information to expatriates living in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is situated to the south of mainland China.
Hong Kongwas a British colony until 1997 when Britain’s 99-year lease expired and it was handed back to China. It is now a special administrative region of China and is diverse in that the influences of the two governing countries are evident – East meeting West. Hong Kong is a major corporate and banking centre. Despite its size, just 1,098 sq km (a third of the size of Paris), for expats, it offers something for everyone - a vibrant city, attractions including Disneyland, sandy beaches and mountain walks.
More country information on Hong Kong can be found here.
Hong Kong in numbers
1,098 km sq (424 sq miles)
* The World Bank
**Finaccord Market Report 2013 – Global Expatriates: Size, Segmentation and Forecast for the Worldwide Market
Healthcare in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the healthiest places in the world to live. Part of this is due to the early implementation of health education, a well developed health care and medication system and investment in professional health services. Life expectancy for Hong Kong residents is very high with an average across both sexes of 83 years old!
Hong Kong has both a public and private healthcare system. The public system is available to Hong Kong citizens, permanent residents and non-permanent residents. People using the public system do not need health insurance.
Public healthcare in Hong Kong is free of charge to people with a Hong Kong identity card and resident children who are 11 and under. There are no contributions into the service, the government provides the necessary healthcare facilities. There may be small charges for some treatments and dental care is not free. Expatriates are able to access public healthcare free of charge.
Medical care in Hong Kong is expensive so private health insurance can attract high premiums. There are, however, plenty of providers to choose from. Most people will buy comprehensive insurance which covers in-patient and day-care hospitalisation, emergency medical evacuation and chronic conditions. Expatriates may opt to buy international health insurance, which can provide additional flexibility.
Locals and expats living in Hong Kong have plenty of choice of hospitals and clinics both public and private. There are 42 public and 11 private hospitals. There are also 47 public specialist outpatient clinics and 73 public general outpatient clinics.
The private hospitals operate to a high standard and are ‘Trent Hospitals’ which have been surveyed and accredited by the UK’s Trent Accreditation. Healthcare at public hospitals is good but they are often busy and there can be long waiting times. Overall, service is to a lesser standard than in private establishements.
Hong Kong has only about 1.7 doctors for 1,000 people. There are very few medical professionals who are trained outside of the Hong Kong due to restrictions on doctors practising in Hong Kong.
Prescription drugs in Hong Kong
Most over the counter and prescription drugs are available in Hong Kong pharmacies. Very few medicines in Hong Kong are sold without a prescription. Drugs are classified into a three systems category 1-3 and drugs in category one and two can only be given with a prescription. Those in category 3 can be sold in medicine stores or pharmacies that do not have a resident pharmacist on site. Pharmacies are generally open from Monday to Sunday throughout Hong Kong from 10am to 7pm.
All hospitals have pharmacies on site that are open 24 hours. In private hospitals, expats should also find pharmacies that have English speaking staff on hand to assist them.
You can visit a GP through either the private or public services. Visiting a private GP or getting a health check in Hong Kong can be expensive so health insurance is recommended. GP’s can be based in the hospitals too and health checks are also available here.
Food Hygiene and Health in Hong Kong
The standard of hygiene is high in Hong Kong and tap water is safe to drink. Restaurants also generally provide a high standard of food hygiene. New expatriates often suffer from sunburn and bites from mosquitos and ticks. It can get very hot in Hong Kong with temperatures over 90 degrees during the summer.
- Emergency including police and fire – 999
A list of public hospitals in Hong Kong can be found below:
- Alice Ho Miu Ling Hospital - Tel: 2689 2000
- Caritas Medical Centre - Tel: 3408 5678
- Kwong Wah Hospital - Tel: 2332 2311
- North District Hospital – Tel: 2683 8888
- Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital - Tel: 2595 6111
- Pok Oi Hospital – Tel: 2486 8000
- Prince of Wales Hospital – Tel: 2632 2211
- Queen Elizabeth Hospital – Tel: 2958 8888
- Queen Mary Hospital – Tel: 2255 38383
Below is a list of private hospitals in Hong Kong:
- Canossa Hospital (Caritas)
- Evangel Hospital
- Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital(under construction)
- Hong Kong Adventist Hospital
- Hong Kong Baptist Hospital
- Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital
- Matilda International Hospital
- Precious Blood Hospital (Caritas)
- St. Paul's Hospital
- St. Teresa's Hospital
- Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital
- Union Hospital
If you are moving to Hong Kong see our blog post 5 must-do attractions for expatriates in Hong Kong.