Hong Kong civil service poll on pay may serve as reference for Hospital Authority

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 October, 2015, 3:10am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 October, 2015, 3:10am

The Hospital Authority might make reference to the government's pay-level survey for civil servants in reviewing its pay adjustment mechanism, its chief executive said after a rare protest by public doctors won the promise of more money.

The survey is conducted by the Civil Service Bureau every six years to compare the salaries of civil servants with those of equivalent jobs in the private sector.

It is used to make any necessary changes to the government's staff remuneration on top of annual civil service pay revisions.

Under the previous survey, conducted in 2013 and adopted earlier this year, senior civil servants earning HK$94,905 or more were granted a 3 per cent rise.

But the Hospital Authority, a statutory body, did not follow suit, triggering the rally on Wednesday that became the largest protest in the local medical sector for eight years.

The authority's chief, Dr Leung Pak-yin, said its board was likely to explore whether the pay-level survey could readily serve as an indicator for future revisions.

"The simpler the calculation is, the better," Leung told TVB's On the Record yesterday, two days after the authority bowed to pressure and endorsed a proposal to give senior doctors the same pay rise.

He said it would be "impractical" for the organisation to conduct its own survey.

"There is only one Hospital Authority and it is difficult to compare our services with those of private institutions. If we compare public doctors' salaries with those of private doctors, there will be a problem of what kind of private doctors should be the basis for comparison," he said.

"There had been times when members [of doctors' groups] said such comparisons were hard and the results could provoke much dispute. So we are inclined to discuss if the government survey can be an indicator for us."

A day earlier, Leung had suggested it was time to review fees charged by public hospitals and make any necessary increases.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, he clarified the idea was not linked to the latest wage increase.

"There has not been a clear mechanism to discuss fees in the public health care sector. That was why I said we should bring this issue to the public … It is unrelated to the pay rise."