A new complaints division of the Medical Council would require a staff of 10 to process complaints against doctors, preliminary figures show. The creation of such a division was included in proposals endorsed by the council last week to reform the body amid criticism that it protected members. It would receive complaints against doctors, assist complainants, refer complaints to the Preliminary Investigation Committee or other organisations, and mediate between doctors and complainants in cases that did not relate to professional conduct, health or competence. Chow Yan-yan, the council's secretary, said the in-house division was expected to need 10 employees, but stressed these were 'rough estimates'. Legislator and council member Dr Lo Wing-lok said if there was a need for high-level investigations, a doctor might be recruited to the division. Council members will explain details of the proposals at a meeting today of the Legislative Council sub-committee on the complaint-handling system, said chairman Dr Law Chi-kwong. Dr Law said apart from reforming the council, the sub-committee would also consider the best way to set up a mechanism that would deal with complaints not only against doctors but against hospitals, clinics, nurses and other health-care professionals. Critics argue an in-house complaints division would not make a difference to patients. Tim Pang Hung-cheong, spokesman for the Patients' Rights Association, said patients would be better served by a wholly independent office outside the Government and the Medical Council.