Health officials refuse to rule out rise in medical fees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 October, 2003, 12:00am

Top health officials in Hong Kong yesterday did not rule out an increase in medical fees to finance the prevention of Sars and other diseases.

Hospital Authority chairman Leong Che-hung said it was 'impractical' to give guarantees now that hospital charges would not rise in the coming year.

He said he hoped the government would consider the authority's financial difficulties in preparing for a possible re-emergence of Sars when allocating funding. Speaking in Macau, Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Yeoh Eng-kiong said he had appealed to Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen for more funding for infection control measures.

Dr Yeoh yesterday rejected a call for payments from the government's ex-gratia relief fund to patients misdiagnosed with Sars. The fund was set up for families of Sars victims and Sars patients who suffer physical or psychological harm from the side-effects of anti-Sars treatment.