Doctor guilty of improper conduct

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 May, 2011, 12:00am


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A public doctor who sent medicine worth HK$247 to his parents in Australia and falsified the records was found guilty of misconduct in public office yesterday.

A magistrate criticised Dr Michael Ho Hung-kwan, 46, for favouring his family members - an act described as depriving the public of access to affordable medical consultation.

While records falsified by Ho showed that his family had visited the clinic, his parents were in fact in Australia and his son was at school at the time of the supposed consultations.

The court earlier heard that Ho on one occasion prescribed Vaseline and Panadol for his parents, medicine that could be bought in Australia.

However, Ho, an outpatient doctor at the Central Kowloon Health Centre, was acquitted in the Kowloon City Court of 23 other charges which accused him of booking bogus consultations and cancelling them at the last minute to reduce his workload.

The prosecution could not prove its case.

Deputy Magistrate Ho Wai-yang rejected Ho's claim that it was proper to prescribe medicine to his parents in Australia after an over-the-phone consultation.

'The only proper way to conduct a consultation is examining the patient in person in the clinic,' the magistrate said. 'It is unacceptable that Ho obtained medicine for his family in this way. This deprives the needy of the medicine.

'The medical services provided by the Hospital Authority are targeted at the general public, including those who cannot afford a private doctor.

'By favouring his family, the defendant deprived the public of a fair and just opportunity to access public medical services.'

The court earlier heard that Ho's family did not have to pay any fee for the medicine because Ho was a public officer.

Ho, a doctor for 17 years, faces a disciplinary hearing by the Hospital Authority and another hearing by the Medical Council investigating whether he breached any professional conduct.

He was released on bail. Sentencing was adjourned to July 4, pending a background report and a community services report. Misconduct in public office carries a maximum penalty of seven years' jail.