THE consultation paper was received with reservations by Hongkong's medical and nursing constituency legislators - and strong condemnation from social welfare groups. Legislative Council medical representative Dr Leong Che-hung said he agreed that alternative funding sources had to be found. ''I'm glad that for the first time, the Government has come up willingly to say health care funding is not enough and we do need funding from other sources,'' he said. However, he criticised the report for its lack of detail on who and how much people would pay under the proposed percentage subsidy approach. He also had doubts about semi-private wards which, he said, would incur great administrative cost and offset any savings. Dr Leong said he preferred the compulsory medical insurance scheme to the voluntary one because of the lack of incentive for people to buy medical insurance. His comments came as the Medical Insurance Association pledged its support for the Government's insurance initiatives. ''We are ready to play a major role in the discussions,'' chairman Nicholas Donne said. Legco's nursing representative, Michael Ho Mun-ka, criticised the consultation paper for focusing on charges instead of trying to improve medical services. ''It is beautifully named Towards Better Health, but I cannot see the sincerity of its content to improve health care,'' he said. ''Instead, it drags on and on to talk about the medical cost and how it can be recovered.'' A doctor, who could not be identified for ethical reasons, said the Green Paper should look at the overall level of funding. ''The cost of health care is rising at a rate that is far beyond the growth of the economy,'' he said. ''But the thing to consider is whether the Government has committed enough to health.'' Another doctor said Hongkong's spending on the public health system was far lower than in other developed countries. This should be addressed before patients were asked to shoulder bigger fees, he said. A spokesman for the concern group GPS Joint Association claimed the percentage subsidy had turned against the spirit of free medical service being a social welfare. Leung King-chuen said: ''Medical service should be treated as one of the basic welfares of a society and any method or excuse to raise charges should not be allowed. ''It is unacceptable for the Government to implement a policy which further cuts its subsidies and puts the burden on the public,'' he said. Fanus Chan Fiu-ching of the Coalition for Monitoring Medical Services said the public could not afford to pay more charges, and added that she feared much bigger costs in the future.