Doctors demand cut in complaints body's powers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 September, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 September, 2000, 12:00am

Public doctors are demanding that the Hospital Authority trim the power of its top complaints body to make it fairer and more transparent.

The Public Doctors' Association will write to authority chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching to call for a review of the body's terms of reference.

The association, the biggest union for public doctors, said the Public Complaints Committee should stop handling cases which should fall under the jurisdiction of the Coroner's Court and the Medical Council. It announced last week it would boycott the committee and appealed to its 1,500 members to refuse to attend hearings or, if they had to attend, to remain silent.

Doctors have accused the committee of making biased rulings on medical complaints and regularly putting the blame on medical staff.

Responding to the dispute, Mr Woo publicly defended the committee on Friday. He said concerns raised by doctors were only 'individual cases' and warned that the authority's board should not interfere with the committee's work.

Association president Dr Lai Kang-yiu said yesterday that the committee should not be involved in cause-of-death or negligence cases, but should concentrate on those dealing with 'poor administration, services delivery or staff manner'.