Hospital Authority rapped over pay study

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 September, 2005, 12:00am

Board members say staff committee is being too secretive about the findings

The Hospital Authority board is being urged to open up after it was criticised for being 'secretive' in handling a pay study for its senior executives.

Kwok Ka-ki, a board member and legislator for the medical sector, said he was frustrated by the board's lack of transparency.

The authority has commissioned a consultancy study on the pay and conditions for its 40-odd senior executives, including the chief executive and the chief executives of clusters and hospitals.

The consultancy firm has briefed the board's staff committee at least twice about its findings. The staff committee, headed by board chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, is formed by chairmen of the board's six functional committees.

All board members were invited to a briefing session of the study in July, but the meeting was cancelled at the last minute.

In a letter to board members, Mr Wu said the staff committee needed more time to study the report before briefing the whole board.

'Other board members cannot get access to the report,' Dr Kwok said. 'Why is it only available to the staff committee?'

He said the board had long been dominated by the authority executives who set the meeting agenda.

'The discussion papers only outline policies and plans they have already decided on, and they are there at the meeting just to inform us, not to consult us.'

Fellow board member Joseph Lee Kok-long - legislator for health services and also a member of the Housing Authority - agreed that the Hospital Authority board was very executive-led.

'My view towards the Housing Authority is much better. The executives there really listen to members' views. In the Hospital Authority board, members have little say in policymaking.'

Another board member - who refused to be named - said he sometimes found the board meetings a waste of time. 'It has become the culture here that there is not much discussion but just senior executives reporting their work.'

Mr Wu said the staff committee wanted to study the report in detail before releasing it to the board and the public because the issue was rather 'sensitive'.

Mr Wu said the committee would brief the board towards the end of the month about the findings. 'We will also release all the findings to the public.'

He has advised board members and the executives to have more discussions at board meetings.

'As the agenda is very long and it takes hours to deliberate, members are requested to read all papers before the board meetings. The executives have been advised that their presentations should be short and cover the salient points.'