HONGKONG'S health chief yesterday hit back at criticism that the Government was showing favouritism towards the Hospital Authority over primary health care in its coming annual expenditures, saying that hospital services were ''capital-intensive''. The Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien, said more money needed to be allocated for hospital services because they were by nature expensive. Critics have questioned the Government's sincerity in promoting primary health care in light of the comparatively small yearly rise in spending for the Department of Health, which is responsible for primary health care such as prevention programmes and out-patient clinics. The new budget for recurrent expenditure for the department will increase by 5.6 per cent in real terms, or $88 million. But the Hospital Authority, which runs 39 public hospitals and related institutions, will get $12 billion, or a 9.5 per cent rise. Asked if the expenditure was lopsided, Mrs Wong said: ''We must recognise that hospital services are capital-intensive by nature. ''I don't accept the accusation that it is lopsided. It is, in fact, very important that it is the first time in Hongkong we have stressed the needs for primary health care.'' The Director of Health, Dr Lee Shiu-hung, said the development of primary health care could not be judged by the budget allocated to his department alone. He said the targets set for health care could be achieved with support from the community, adding that the department was working closely with the authority. The director of operations of the Hospital Authority, Dr Yeoh Eng-kiong, supported Mrs Wong's remarks. He revealed that it would add 950 new beds - 300 for the mentally handicapped, 300 for convalescent and infirmary purposes and 350 for general use - over the next financial year. The administration revealed that 81 doctors, 478 nurses and 107 paramedics would be recruited for the new services. Dr Lee also said about $1.5 million from the department and Government Information Services would be allocated for AIDS education. Mrs Wong said the new estimates did not include future allowances for HIV-positive haemophiliacs, saying they were waiting for a formal announcement from the Financial Secretary tomorrow. Legislator for the medical profession, Dr Leong Che-hung, said: ''In general, in the aspect of budget on health, I would say I accept [the estimates] as reasonable.'' Dr Leong agreed that more money should be allocated for primary health care, adding that dental care services, which currently cover civil servants and emergency cases only, should be expanded to cover people such as the mentally handicapped. Mr Michael Ho Mun-ka, legislator for the nursing profession, said the number of nurses to be recruited for new services was inadequate. The Director of Social Welfare, Mr Ian Strachan, yesterday rejected the accusation that the Government emphasised quantity but not quality of services. He cited the examples of the 19 per cent increase in social workers for youth probation services and 12 per cent rise in social workers at schools.