Most nurses want legislation passed before July 1 to give them a bigger say in setting their standards, according to a survey. They fear their needs will be ignored by the Special Administrative Region government, which might be busy dealing with political issues. Mak Kwok-fung, vice-chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff, said: 'We have been waiting for so long. The issue was raised in 1991, but we are not sure if the bill will be passed before the handover. 'The practice of nursing will be better monitored and the standard will be guaranteed under the bill.' The Nurses Registration (Amendment) Bill proposes replacing the nursing board with a nursing council. The board, which regulates the quality of nursing, comprises 17 members appointed by the Governor. The proposed council will have 20 members - six directly elected by nurses. The bill was tabled to the Legislative Council in February. But there was concern over whether members should be directly elected or nominated by respective nursing associations. Mr Mak said more than 90 per cent of the 1,270 nurses interviewed by his association last month supported a one-nurse, one-vote election to the council. 'About 90 per cent of them hoped the bill would be passed before the handover,' he said. Legislator Michael Ho Mun-ka said most nurses believed the council would be more representative and more open because of its directly elected members. The bill proposes people who falsify registration should be fined a maximum of $50,000 instead of the current $1,000, and jailed for two years instead of three months. The use of nurses will be restricted under the bill.