Government may adjust fees for medical service

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 May, 2006, 12:00am

Updated at 5.10pm:
The government on Thursday proposed adjusting fees for more than 80 medical service provided by the Health Department.

According to the proposals, charges for 67 services will be increased. The rate rise for most of these services ranged from five to 20 per cent.

Fees for 19 items would be reduced by between 6 per cent and 72 per cent.

The proposals, or the Amendment Regulations, will be tabled in the Legislative Council on May 10.

The government expected the price adjustment could take effect in July.

A Health Department spokesman said it was government policy to set service fees at levels sufficient to cover costs.

He said the proposed fee increases were moderate and would have little impact on the public.

'Most of the fees covered have not been revised for nine years or longer and a recent costing review of these fee items showed that the majority of the fees fall short of full cost recovery,' the spokesman explained.

'To alleviate the impact of the fee increases on users of the services concerned, we propose to increase the fees gradually with a view to achieving full-cost recovery within one to seven years,' he added.

The fee adjustments relate to a number of public health legislations. They include the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, the Antibiotics Ordinance, and the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance, among others.