Probe urged into resignations of two top medical professors

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 March, 2004, 12:00am

A legislator says the decisions could be linked to a cut in government funding

Chinese University's council has been urged to investigate the sudden resignations of two top medical professors, who headed the Sars battle last year.

Democratic legislator Cheung Man-kwong, who is also a university council member, has expressed his concern over the departure of senior staff at the faculty of medicine.

Mr Cheung said the resignations would undermine morale and hamper the university's developments in research.

Dean of medicine Sydney Chung Sheung-chee and microbiology professor John Tam Siu-lun have announced their resignations in the past two weeks.

Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, head of the university's department of medicine and therapeutics, has also resigned as chief of services at the Prince of Wales Hospital's medicine department. He will remain at the university.

Mr Cheung said he had sent a letter yesterday to council chairman Edgar Cheng Wai-kin seeking an explanation.

'We need to find out whether it was just a coincidence or any other reasons involved such as the government cut in funding for universities or other political reasons,' the legislator said.

Meanwhile, Leung Ping-chung, professor of orthopaedics and traumatology, said he would stay on in his job but insisted that he would not succeed Professor Chung as dean.

'I won't consider [taking up the post of medical dean at Chinese University]. I prefer working on the sidelines,' said Professor Leung, adding that he had been offered a new post outside the university.

He did not comment on whether his colleagues' resignations were linked to the conflict between the government and Prince of Wales Hospital's management.

'I won't exaggerate the existing conflict. There are many reasons. As far as I know, they had not planned to resign at the same time,' he said.

Francis Chow Chun-chung, consultant and clinical director of the Prince of Wales' Diabetes and Endocrine Centre, said yesterday that management had contacted him about the post left open by Professor Sung's resignation.

'I did not reject [the proposal],' he said, adding that nothing has been confirmed.

'Final decisions should be announced towards the end of this month.'