Doctors' fees could be listed in bid to boost patients' confidence

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 12:00am

Private hospitals are working at establishing a more transparent schedule listing doctors fees in a move to regain consumer confidence, its association leader says.

Hong Kong Private Hospitals' Association president Dr Walton Li Wai-tat said that while fees and charges for patients before admission were listed, private doctors' fees in hospital were not.

The plan was for the 12 private hospitals to publish a list of doctors' fees for common ailments, Dr Li said.

The association is also launching a joint survey with the Hong Kong Medical Association on doctors' fees.

Dr Li believes an average fee schedule could be established for 90 per cent of common ailments. He said private hospitals needed to improve quality and promote their services as aggressively as the Hospital Authority (HA).

The 12 hospitals had sought external quality assurance under Britain's Trent Accreditation Scheme.

'We have got to get our acts together,' Dr Li said. 'We have not done enough on our own. The Hospital Authority has also been doing PR work.

'Many of the private hospitals still have the top doctors, surgeons and the latest equipment, but we have not been promoting ourselves as effectively as the HA.'

Speaking yesterday, association member and Union Hospital manager and medical director Dr Anthony Lee Kai-yiu warned more lay-offs and further wage cuts would be inevitable in private hospitals if the imbalance in market share between public and private sectors continued.

He said he believed more private hospitals would follow government policy to cut salaries as private hospitals normally followed the civil service pay scale.