Concerns raised by doctor's suicide bid

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 March, 2006, 12:00am

A doctors' union has expressed concern about the pressures facing its members after a senior doctor tried to commit suicide at work over the weekend.

The 50-year-old intensive care specialist was in a stable condition yesterday after his wife found him collapsed in a room with fluid injected into his left wrist.

Two suicide notes were found next to the specialist. Police have classified the case as an attempted suicide, although the doctor's reasons have not been disclosed.

The doctor's 43-year-old wife called the police at 9pm on Saturday.

Public Doctors' Association president Shea Tat-ming said the incident worried the union.

Dr Shea said the union would try to find out the reasons for the doctor's suicide attempt.

'We do not know yet what lay behind the attempted suicide, such as whether it was related to money or work pressure,' Dr Shea said.

He said, however, that public doctors ranging from junior to senior grades felt frustration and pressure at work.

'Doctors at all levels feel discouraged by the repeated salary cuts, coupled with overtime work,' he said. 'The Hospital Authority makes us feel that our role is no longer important.'

He said that public hospitals lacked funding and many doctors felt helpless when they could not prescribe drugs that were deemed too costly.

Rebuilding the morale of doctors in public hospitals is an urgent and difficult task facing Shane Solomon, who became the Hospital Authority's chief executive on March 1, Dr Shea said.

'Mr Solomon is new and does not fully understand the culture in the authority. It will be difficult for a newcomer like him to resolve all the problems overnight.'