Medical watchdog counsel under fire over pay and performance
Council members urge the health department to investigate part-time legal adviser they say is too slow, often late and paid far too much
The Health Department is reviewing the way the legal counsel to the Medical Council is appointed, after some of its members expressed concerns about the adviser's pay and performance.
Nine members of the council signed a petition asking for a review of counsel Charles Chan Chor-chak whom they claimed did not live up to their expectations though he has been paid up to HK$5 million. Chan, appointed since 2003, serves as part-time legal adviser not just for the Medical Council but also the dental and chiropractic councils.
The three councils are responsible for disciplining members of the professions.
The department last night said it would look into the punctuality issues raised by the council members. It said Chan had been paid HK$1,900 an hour since his appointment.
Dr Ho Pak-leung, a Medical Council member, said the money used to hire Chan could be better spent.
"This involves the use of public money. With HK$5 million a year, two full-time legal advisers could be employed," Ho said.
Ho was one of the signatories on the letter sent to health director Dr Constance Chan Hon-yee last Thursday. Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man also got a copy. Dr Gabriel Choi Kin, who also signed the letter, urged the department to assess the barrister's work rate.
Responding to media inquiries, Chan's secretary said he would only discuss the issue with his clients, meaning the councils.