In the sixties when many low-cost housing estates were built to cater for the rapidly growing population, a pilot scheme was initiated by the then Hon. Director of Medical and Health Services to invite registered doctors to practise in these estates. In September 1966, a meeting was convened at the Hong Kong University Alumni Association premises with doctors coming from the Hong Kong Chinese Medical Association. The meeting, chaired by Dr. Gerald Choa, the then Deputy Director of Medical and Health Services, proposed the formation of a provisional independent committee: the “Low-Cost Clinics Doctors Management Committee” to coordinate and supervise the captioned matter.
This Committee would act as liaison body between its members, the Medical and Health Department, the Resettlement Department, and the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HKHA). It would elect its own code of rules and regulations of clinic allocation. It would promote the welfare of its members and also act as an arbitrating body whenever there was dispute among members.
In 1971, the name was changed to the Low-Cost Clinic Association of Registered Doctors. Four years later, its name was again changed to the Public Housing Estate Clinic Association of Registered Doctors. The Association was incorporated into a limited company under the name of the Estate Doctors Association Ltd. (EDA) on 17.8.1976.
EDA worked in close partnership with HKHA in the allocation and management of medical clinics in the public housing estates, and promoted continuing medical education among members by organizing regular luncheon talks, video cassette sessions and community medical programmes. With full support from members, EDA became more and more active as a consultative body to the Hong Kong Government on various health issues such as the Harvard Report, Clinical Waste Disposal, Mental Health Ordinance, Chinese Medicine Bill, and also as a professional body safeguarding professional autonomy and interests such as annual declaration of no conviction, dangerous drugs guidelines, clauses in the Professional Code & Conduct on managed care.
On 1.1.2000, HKHA changed its policy on letting of medical and dental clinics in public housing estates. All vacant clinics were to be let through open tender to replace nomination from either EDA or the Estate Dentists Group. Since then EDA ceased all activities of allocation and management of estate clinics. In order to reflect the role of the Association more clearly, the name of Estate Doctors Association Ltd. was changed to Hong Kong Doctors Union Ltd. (HKDU) on 14.4.2000, with Dr. Yeung Chiu Fat Henry as the founding president. Two years later, in April, 2002, we completed registration with the Registry of Trade Union of HKSAR and now HKDU functions as a trade union. We are in a stronger position to achieve our persistent missions of upgrading our professional image and protecting our doctors' rights.
Our developmental milestones from 1966 the year of conception to 2006 as recorded in our 40th Anniversary Publication 10 years ago are re-presented herewith to make a complete archive of our major hard-earned achievements. For the past 10 years, HKDU continued to serve the medical community in various local and international matters. We humbly listened, meticulously formulated our missions and devotedly accomplished most of the tasks with our concerted hard efforts. The followings are some of the major events that we proudly achieved throughout half a century. We are most grateful for the advice and support from our government, our dear members and all parties involved.