THE three-year battle by university doctors for the same pay package as their hospital counterparts has reached a deadlock, a leading campaigner has claimed. The immediate past chairman of the University Medical Doctors' Association, Dr Shen Wan-yiu, said the ''identity problems'' of more than 20 university doctors - or 10 per cent of the total - had resulted in a delay in the submission for extra funding forthe new package. More than 20 doctors in pathology services at the University of Hongkong are not paid by the university, but by the Health and Welfare Branch, even though they are employed on terms similar to those of university doctors. The difference is the result of a decision by the Hospital Services Department to pay the university to run pathology services for Queen Mary Hospital. But it was the Education and Manpower Branch which promised the new package last year. A spokesman for the branch had said it was still discussing with the Finance Branch the budget involved for parity. Last summer, the 180-strong university doctors' association called off industrial action after the Government bowed to pressure for the package. The Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr John Chan Cho-chak, said then that the Government had agreed in principle to give the doctors a choice between retaining their existing package or changing to a Hospital Authority one. About 230 university doctors from the two teaching hospitals - Queen Mary and Prince of Wales - were incensed that they were paid less than their colleagues. Their fight started in 1990 as the provisional hospital authority started to work out its pay package. Doctors said they had to treat patients, teach students and conduct research. Dr Shen said the pathologists deserved the new package because they provided public services. The association was now urging the Hospital Authority and the Health and Welfare Branch to take up the issue, he said. Fears of insufficient teaching staff for the two medical faculties had surfaced again, Dr Shen said. He said the two universities might have to change their employment policy to guarantee a reasonable number of university doctors and warned that teaching would be affected in the long run. There are staff shortages at both universities and the vacancy rate for doctors' posts at the University of Hongkong is greater than 20 per cent. The association had expected the funding application to be submitted to the Finance Committee by the end of last year, but Dr Shen said he now hoped the provision of parity could be made at the beginning of the next financial year in April. Questioned on the possibility of success in bargaining for parity for all university doctors, Dr Shen said: ''It depends on how people see hospital pathological services. We are not absolutely sure that we can get sufficient funding.'' He said the cost would be more than $80 million if all staff opted for the new package. Dr Shen, a former lecturer at the Chinese University, has accepted a consultant post at Queen Elizabeth Hospital under the Hospital Authority. His position with the association has been filled by the former vice-chairman, Dr Yu Yuk-ling. The new vice-chairman is Dr Dennis Lam.