The Hospital Authority is to take disciplinary action against a surgeon who talked on a mobile phone during an operation, saying he violated his duties. In a statement last night, the authority apologised to the patient for his 'unpleasant experience'. It said the case was a 'strong violation' of the public expectations of a doctor. The Medical Council will now investigate whether the doctor breached professional conduct guidelines. Taxi driver Chung Chi-cheong accused the Queen Mary Hospital doctor of having a telephone conversation about buying a car during an operation to remove a polyp from his colon in May. During the operation, the doctor tore the patient's colon. The patient needed a second operation the same day for inflammation of the abdominal wall. The patient told a hospital hearing yesterday he was conscious during the operation and overheard the conversation. He had been given only painkillers and sedatives. The doctor also gave evidence to the panel. The case will be referred to the authority's Public Complaints Committee for investigation and consideration of disciplinary action. The doctor was suspended from all clinical duties from yesterday. Raymond Wong Siu-keung, the hospital general manager for administrative services, said: 'We will assess all the information before deciding on the proper disciplinary action.' Medical Council secretary Chow Yan-yan said a formal investigation would begin soon. If found guilty by the Medical Council, the doctor could face punishment ranging from a warning to a suspension of his licence. It is understood the hospital's governing committee has blamed executives for failing to pick up 'important points' of the case since the complaint was made four months ago. The committee met on Monday and set up a taskforce to review the complaint mechanism. Taskforce chairman Lam Kin-lai said: 'The patient lodged the complaint in June. He only mentioned having a second piece of surgery at that time. 'It was not until he contacted the media recently that the allegation [against the doctor using a mobile phone] was revealed. We want to know why the hospital did not know about it before.'