Setting record straight
I REFER to the two letters published in your columns on January 19 concerning the pay package of university medical doctors.
Both of your correspondents claimed that I had promised to come up with a solution and work out details by October or November last year. I think it is important to set the record straight.
In my discussions with the University Medical Doctors' Association, I pointed out that while the Government agreed in principle to provide university clinical medical doctors an option to choose between retaining their existing remuneration package or changing over to a remuneration package identical to that of the Hospital Authority, the University and Polytechnic Grants Committee (UPGC) and the two universities would need to work out the financial implications of the proposal as well as the details of implementation, and that this would take time. In my letter of October 13, 1992 to the Chairman of the Association, I made it very clear that '' . . . even assuming that there were no further complications or need for clarification etc, I did not think it would be possible to put a submission to Finance Committee much before the end of this year . . . ''.
I received the UPGC's report on the universities' costings of the additional funding required on November 24 last. The Administration wasted no time in examining the detailed implementation proposals, the policy implications these may have for other public sector employees, and the method by which the additional funding requirement could be met.
As a result, revised proposals were sent to the vice-chancellors of the two universities on January 13. Once their agreement has been secured, a submission will be made to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for approval of the necessary funds.
JOHN CHAN Secretary for Education and Manpower