Doctors protest at Medical Council secrecy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 July, 2005, 12:00am

At least seven doctors walked out of a Medical Council meeting yesterday to express anger over what they claimed was the watchdog's secretive operation.

Choi Kin, a council member and president of the Hong Kong Medical Association, was the first to walk out after council members proposed voting on whether the editor of the association's newsletter had breached the council's confidentiality rule.

The Medical Association Newsletter Monthly's editor, Tse Hung-hing, who is also a council member, wrote an article in April's issue about an internal council hearing into whether or not to restore a doctor's licence. The doctor had earlier been removed from the medical registry for three months for professional misconduct.

The association opposes a new procedure under which doctors removed from the registry then have to face a council hearing to be reinstated.

Dr Choi said Dr Tse's article was intended to inform association members about the issue, but some council members claimed he had breached its confidentiality rule.

'The council has long been talking about increasing its transparency, but it always makes this and that information confidential,' Dr Choi said. 'We have the duty to inform our members on disciplinary proceedings.'

The council later voted against condemning Dr Tse, who said he had done nothing wrong.

'The discussion [about whether I had breached confidentiality] is ridiculous; a total waste of time,' Dr Tse said.

Medical sector legislator Kwok Ka-ki later called for reform of the council to make it more transparent. Dr Kwok, also a council member, said almost all discussion papers at the council meetings were classified confidential.

'The public and doctors cannot get access to our discussions. Such a black-box operation is very outdated,' he said.