Doctors want to assess hospital executives

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 May, 2010, 12:00am

Senior Hospital Authority executives and hospitals chiefs should have their performance assessed by frontline staff and should share responsibility with health-care workers for medical blunders, a survey released yesterday shows.

The Public Doctors' Association polled 1,034 public doctors late last year. More than half had worked for the authority for more than 10 years.

About 94 per cent said the authority should introduce '360-degree assessment' of senior executives, meaning that frontline staff should have a say in the evaluation. More than 94 per cent said the government should appoint a union member to the authority board.

Association president Dr Ho Pak-leung said the authority governing board had failed in its monitoring of executives. 'Almost all proposals given by the executives to the board are passed without challenge. The board is clearly a rubber stamp. A union member would help with checks and balances,' he said.

Ho also said public hospital chiefs should be disciplined over medical mishaps. More than 95 per cent said the disciplinary system should also apply to the authority's chief executive, directors and hospital chiefs. 'There should be accountability from the top level, and now we don't know how the board assesses senior executives' performance - some executives still enjoy handsome bonuses, even while staff morale remains poor,' Ho said.

Eighty-five per cent of respondents said senior managers were unlikely to be disciplined for their mistakes or poor performance.

Responding, the authority said it now had human resources policies to handle staff disciplinary matters 'in an open and fair manner'.

'An appeal mechanism is also available to staff. The Hospital Authority is now in the process of a full review of our staff disciplinary policies ...' an authority spokesman said.

The association yesterday also criticised authority inefficiency, citing as an example the fact that hospitals now had a common rule that medical mishaps must be investigated over six weeks.

Princess Margaret Hospital earlier said it would need six weeks to investigate why a baby boy was scalded in a bath at the hospital. It later halved its probe time after Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said it would not need that long as the incident was quite straightforward.