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Regulating Sports Therapists in HKSAR



According to the Government's policy, healthcare professions in Hong Kong have all along observed the principle of professional autonomy. Various healthcare professions are subject to different levels of regulation based on their professional risks and development. There are mainly three modes of regulation. The first is a mandatory statutory registration regime under which registration is compulsory for practicing the profession, or else committing such professional actions is not allowed. The second is registration under accredited schemes, which is a non-compulsory registration and will not prohibit non-registrants from practising the profession. The third is voluntary registration under a society-based arrangement. 

Under the Government's position, a mandatory statutory registration regime is not the only effective mode of regulation, nor is it applicable to the actual situation of all healthcare professions.

The Sports Therapists Association of Hong Kong(STAoHK) operates under voluntary registration since the establishment. All graduated sports therapists(or equivalent professionals, such as Athletic Trainer/Therapist) who wish to practice in Hong Kong is highly encourage to register as a member with the Association, with a professional indemnity insurance cover arranged by STAoHK that applicable in HKSAR region and/ worldwide(excluding USA and Canada), in order to safeguard the liabilities between sports therapist and their service targets.  

Will Sports Therapists Turn in As a Statutory Regulation in HKSAR?


The Government's policy is to first and foremost adopt a risk-based approach to consider selecting the most suitable mode of regulation applicable to various healthcare professions based on the level of risk on public health and healthcare quality and safety posed by the healthcare professions when providing services. In general, the Government will prioritise the implementation of mandatory statutory registration for healthcare professionals carrying out medical procedures which are invasive or of a higher risk. At the same time, the Government will separately maintain communication with the professions and regulates the healthcare professions taking into consideration the actual situation of their development. Factors of consideration include the following four points:
(1) whether the profession has a broadly representative organisation or association with an effective governance structure;
(2) whether the profession is capable of formulating professional standards and registration criteria with recognition;
(3) the scale of the profession, including the service volume and the number of professionals; and
(4) the views of the organisations and members of the profession.

In response to the above criterion, the Association is now working out a more solid governance in both external and internal aspects. In additions, we also sketched a plan to further advocating sports therapy professionals to be more visible in different stakeholders, such as employers, community and professional sports teams, and collaborate with different healthcare professionals to contribute the society in injury preventions and rehabilitation, as well as an overall health well-being.

Reference: LCQ5: Introducing a statutory registration regime for healthcare professions(1/11/2023)


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