DOCTORS yesterday attacked any Cathay Pacific pilots who may be misusing medical certificates and falsely claiming stress-related illness in their pay dispute with the company. Pilots with genuine symptoms were entitled to time off work but any dreaming up conditions to obtain certificates were insulting the medical profession, the Hong Kong Medical Association president, Dr So Kai-ming, said. 'If they are using that as an excuse, in a way they are jeopardising doctors' judgment and professional position,' he said. The pilots' union, the Aircrew Officers' Association, told members on Wednesday to seek medical advice if they were too stressed to fly as they faced a 'sign-up-or-be-sacked' pay deal deadline on June 11. Union officials had cited a Civil Aviation Department directive which stated that a person 'shall not be entitled to act as a member of the flight crew . . . if he knows or suspects that his physical or mental condition renders him temporarily or permanently unfit to perform such functions or to act in such a capacity'. Dr So said the physical symptoms, 'if they are actually having stress', could include restlessness, insomnia, palpitations, feelings of nervousness and a loss of appetite. 'The judgment is whether that affects your work,' he said. 'If you are a pilot [those symptoms] would jeopardise your working capability.' Pilots' association general secretary John Findlay said members were not using illness as a pretext to fight their industrial action. 'People have been threatened with their jobs and they are very concerned,' Mr Findlay said. 'This is not a sick-out. 'If your mind is not on it, you can't fly in Hong Kong legally. 'You have no option,' Mr Findlay said. Pilots were being given sick leave by aviation specialists employed by Cathay Pacific, company doctors and by their own family doctors, he said.