Patients kept in the dark

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 January, 1999, 12:00am

Private doctors often keep patients in the dark about prescriptions, according to a survey.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents said doctors only occasionally explained the characteristics and side-effects of drugs prescribed, according to a telephone interview of 536 people by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong.

Another 11 per cent said they were never given such information while 59 per cent said doctors did not ask whether they were allergic to the prescriptions.

This is despite a stipulation in the patients' rights charter that they be given a full explanation of diagnosis and treatment.

Provisional Urban Councillor Thomas Pang Cheung-wai urged more doctor-patient communication.

Respondents also complained about unclear medical bills, with 86 per cent saying they were not given a breakdown of charges. The poll found basic charges varied from $100 to $300.