PresidentDr SO Hing Yu
1st Vice PresidentDr CHEE Yee Eot
2nd Vice PresidentDr WONG Ho Shan Steven
Honorary SecretaryDr CHAN Simon Kin Cheong
Honorary TreasurerDr CHAN Chi Wing (Timmy)
Assistant SecretaryDr WONG Man Kin (Henry)
Assistant TreasurerDr SO Hang Kwong Eric
Council MembersDr CHAN Albert Kam Ming
Dr CHENG Chun Pong (Benny)
Dr LAU Vivian Nga Man
Dr LIU Tak-chiu (John)
Dr LUI Frances
Dr WONG Sau Ching Stanley
In attendanceMs Kristy CHEUNG, Chief Executive Officer
Ms Fonia LAM, Senior Administrative Officer

My sincere thanks to the support of all fellows and members of the college, as well as all council members, for me to have this opportunity to be President of the Hong Kong College of Anaesthesiologists. The “mission” of the college, written in the college webpage, is to ensure the quality of our specialists through training, examination, certification, continuing medical education, accreditation and other related activities. Since founded in 1989, the college has been a leader in patient safety, quality improvement and medical education. We should all be deservedly proud of those achievements. However, we are facing major changes in our society especially in the last few years. Those changes are imposing major challenges to our systems. On the other hand, insecurity could bring about a sense of urgency which may drive changes and improvements. “It was the best of time, it was the worst of time,….it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” I think we should reflect on those words of Charles Dickens in The Tales of Two Cities and see how we can make this the best of our time and our spring of hope.

Dr Hing-yu SO

Good evening honourable guests, fellows and members, new graduates, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the 36th Congregation of the Hong Kong College of Anaesthesiologists. 

On behalf of the College, I would like to begin by extending our congratulations to all of our new graduates. This is a significant milestone in your career and life, and it is important to recognise that achieving this level of success is not something that can be done alone. The support of your family, friends, supervisors, and peers has played an indispensable role in your accomplishment. Therefore, this moment of achievement belongs to them just as much as it does to you. As a gesture of gratitude, I kindly ask all of our new graduates to stand up and wave to express your appreciation to those who have supported you.

It is clear that you are here because you have successfully completed all the rigorous examinations and assessments that are required of you. Assessment plays a fundamental role in postgraduate medical education. In the past two years, the Board of Examination, led by Dr. Benny Cheng, as well as the Board of Education under Dr. Albert Chan and Dr. Henry Wong, have put in a lot of efforts to enhance our assessment systems. While we may want to congratulate ourselves for being pioneers, I believe we cannot do so just yet. If you have listened to my talk this morning, you would have realised that we are still in the midst of evolving and are far from being advanced.

This impression was confirmed by a recent survey of our trainees. When asked about their educational needs, they requested access to past questions, sample answers, and workshops on examination technique. Examinations, which should serve as a means to assess and drive learning, have instead become an end in themselves. I cannot blame our trainees for this. Dr. Francois  Cilliers, a professor in health sciences education from South Africa, has correctly  concluded from his research that an excessive reliance on objectivity and quantitative results can be seen as punitive and unfair. This, in turn, encourages students to focus on passing assessments rather than learning to become good doctors.

Assessment has a significant impact on learning. It is the current system that drives the behavior we have observed. We cannot place blame on our predecessors; this is the best they knew. Ultimately, it is up to us to take the lead and move forward, or else we have no one to blame but ourselves.

The trainees survey has also highlighted two other important issues that need to be addressed in order to properly nurture our young doctors. One of these issues is bullying and harassment. Although the survey response suggests that the situation has improved slightly compared to the previous survey, it is still a matter that requires our attention. We have all seen a case of such behavior in the news, and it was discussed in our last meeting. We will continue to address this issue in our next meeting as well. It is clear that we not only need to strengthen our support system, but also work towards changing our professional culture. In this regard, there is much we can learn from our colleagues in Australia and Singapore.

Another concern is burnout. Although the college is currently focusing on the importance of positive psychology, it is important for us to thoroughly examine this issue to determine how we can provide assistance. Your participation in these activities is undoubtedly essential.

The College is also actively engaged in a variety of developmental activities: for example Dr. Eot Chee is busy developing training in  perioperative medicine, in the Board of Intensive Care Drs. Anne Leung, KC Chan, Sunny Yip and others are working towards a joint curriculum in intensive care medicine with the Hong Kong College of Physicians, Dr. Timmy Chan is enhancing the training in Pain Medicine. I would kindly refer you to our annual report for details. Besides efforts from our fellows and staff, led by our CEO Ms. Kristy Cheung, leadership is imperative.  It is critical for us to foster the growth of our young fellows, enabling you to assume these responsibilities and ensure our collective success.

To support our young fellows, we established the Young Fellows Committee two years ago. Dr. Vivian Lau and Dr. Patrick Wong have led the committee in organising activities to facilitate networking with various boards and committees of the College. They have also established criteria for selecting young fellows to be nominated as distinguished young fellows of the HKAM. Distinguished young fellows should not only achieve good personal performance but also contribute to the clinical team and our  profession.

This year, the College has nominated Dr. Carmen Lam and Dr. Timothy Yang. In our recent council meeting, we decided to implement our own distinguished young fellow program, and we will provide further details soon.

Now that we have established the necessary structure for driving development of young leaders and the desired outcomes, our focus must shift to the nurturing process. Several ideas have come to mind in this regard.

Firstly, our annual scientific meeting can serve as a valuable platform for facilitating this process. This year, we have introduced a Young Fellows Symposium, although the speakers are not young fellows themselves. It is a good starting point. Additionally, I attended the BJA Board Meeting in September 2022, where I learned about a conference organised by an Austrian Biologist. He shared his vision of nurturing young scientists by pairing them with experienced researchers and providing them with opportunities to present at the meeting. Dr. Stanley Wong, who chairs our Scientific Committee, will explore the possibility of networking young fellows with our more experienced researchers and providing them with a forum to present, in addition to our Formal Project Prize Sessions, could be instrumental. Also, these presentations need not be limited to scientific research, but can extend to other areas of improvement as well.

Our Australian counterparts, ANZCA, are ahead of us in nurturing young leaders. They hold an Emerging Leaders Conference annually and generously allow one of our young fellows to participate. This presents an excellent opportunity to learn, not only the content but also the approach. Last year, Dr. Zoey Tam participated alongside me, and her enlightening presentation this afternoon serves as evidence of the value of this experience. I have requested our Young Fellow Committee to examine the nomination and selection process for this conference and ensure that those who participate are also involved in nurturing other young leaders. It is my pleasure to inform you that Dr. Lydia Lau, the OC Chairperson of this ASM, has been selected.

Finally, as an educationist of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, I have contributed to writing the Position Paper on Postgraduate Medical Education, which has been published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal. Faculty development is a key recommendation, and I have collaborated with colleagues in the Faculty Development Workgroup under the ILCM to draft a framework for this purpose. The section on developing collegial leaders aligns well with our goals for leadership development. I encourage our Young Fellows Committee to explore these resources, as well as other possibilities, in formulating leadership development activities for our young fellows. However, it is essential to emphasise that regardless of the initiatives we implement the active participation of our young fellows is crucial. Thank you for your kind attention.

Past PresidentsYear
Dr TM MOLES1989-1991
Prof TE OH1991-1993
Dr Ronald LO1993-1995
Dr HUNG Chi-Tim1995-1997, 1997-1999
Dr LEE Tsun-Woon1999-2001, 2001-2003
Prof Tony GIN2003-2005, 2005-2007
Prof Michael IRWIN2007-2009, 2009-2011
Dr Yu-fat CHOW2011-2013, 2013-2015
Dr LIU Tak-chiu John2015-2017
Prof CHEUNG Chi Wai2017-2019, 2019-2021