Most want doctors to advertise, poll finds

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 February, 2006, 12:00am

Most people want doctors to advertise their credentials in the same way as solicitors and accountants are allowed to under their code of practice, a University of Hong Kong poll has found.

The $68,000 telephone poll of 1,012 people was commissioned by the private Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, whose doctors have led calls for the Medical Council to relax the advertising ban.

Of those polled by the university's public opinion programme, 75 per cent said doctors should have the same right as accountants and solicitors, who are allowed to promote their practices in newspapers and magazines. Twenty-three per cent rejected the idea.

Of those who agreed, 90 per cent said doctors should be able to provide information about their fees, available treatments and specialist services. Six per cent believed doctors should disclose only basic information.

Programme director Robert Chung Ting-yiu defended the commissioning of the poll by a private hospital, which might have a vested interest in the findings.

'We restrict ourselves in a professional way in that whichever survey we conduct, whatever our partners, we stick to our independence,' Dr Chung said. 'We requested and we were given the autonomy to design, decide and conduct the questionnaire and the findings.'

Dr Chung said the survey found that people wanted more information about medical services.

Sanatorium assistant medical superintendent Kwong Kwok-hay said: 'The purpose of commissioning ... the survey was to find out public opinion about whether dissemination of medical information is helpful to the public.'