Reforms in the medical profession will undermine promotion prospects, hit salaries and hinder the ability of young practitioners to work independently, doctors claim. Among the protesters in Kowloon City yesterday was Dr Savio Yeung Chi-yuen, 32, a medical officer at Nethersole Hospital in Tai Po. He is worried the new system will make it difficult for him to move up the salary scale. Under the new system, salaries for new recruits will be cut to create more posts for specialists and junior doctors. Salary points could be increased or remain unchanged under performance assessments while the existing system automatically raises salary points each year until a ceiling is reached. Medical staff can choose whether to remain in the old system or switch to the new one. Dr Yeung earns $50,000 a month and will stick with the old system to avoid a pay freeze. This means he will lose the chance of being promoted, he says, although vacancies for senior posts are limited. The ceiling under the new system will drop in Dr Yeung's medical grade to $57,525 compared with the current $79,230. Dr Yeung says he will consider switching to the new system only when there is an opportunity for promotion. Yau Cheung-san was among a group of more than 20 housemen - medical students from the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong Kong - at the demonstration. They felt that distrust among patients for trainee doctors had increased since the new mechanism - resulting from concern by the Hospital Authority at the standard of some junior medical officers - was partially implemented at the start of the month.