Private doctors wary of public patient plan

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am

The consultation fee offered by the Hospital Authority for private doctors in Tin Shui Wai to treat chronically ill public patients was too low, doctors said yesterday.

Under a pilot project, outlined by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in his policy address, the authority will subsidise the cost for about 1,000 chronically ill patients from Tin Shui Wai's general outpatient clinic to see private doctors.

The patients would pay HK$45 per visit, which would include provision of drugs - the same fee charged at public clinics. They can have six regular consultations a year for chronic diseases and another four for occasional illnesses such as colds.

The authority will soon announce details of the project, which is due to start in June.

Doctors in the scheme will get HK$150 - HK$105 from the authority and HK$45 from the patient - for each consultation. They must stock about 50 drugs provided by the authority and use the authority's software to get access to patient records.

There are about 20 private doctors in Tin Shui Wai. The co-ordinator of the Tin Shui Wai private doctors network, Pang Lai-sheung, said doctors were not enthusiastic about the scheme and more incentives would be needed to entice them.

'There will be a lot of extra administrative work for doctors. For example, we have to learn the software and keep stock of the medicine.'