Officials yesterday defended their proposed changes to the medical complaints system, despite legislators passing a motion calling for an independent body to review doctors' blunders. The Medical Council, which hears complaints, last year said it would appoint four more non-medical members to the 28-member body, taking the total to eight. Also, a disciplinary committee chaired by a retired judge will be set up to investigate and punish doctors found guilty of professional misconduct. However, some members of Legco's health panel criticised the Government for ignoring public calls for an independent watchdog. Democrat legislator Yeung Sum rejected the Government's argument that other professions including lawyers, architects and accountants did not have a complaints body independent from their professional bodies. 'Of course, they don't. For accountants, they may only get the figures wrong. For lawyers, people can still appeal to a court. For doctors, it's a matter of lives. How can you make an appeal about lives? Can you go to the Court of Final Appeal to get back your life?' Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare Thomas Yiu Kei-chung said the Government agreed broadly with the council's proposals and did not see the need for another complaints unit. The proposals would enhance transparency and public confidence in the medical body. He said there would be duplication of roles between the Medical Council and an independent complaints body, but added they would look at the proposal. The handling of complaints has been heavily criticised because of the large number dismissed by the council and a highly publicised case last July in which a doctor who answered his mobile phone during surgery was cleared of any wrongdoing. The council has struck off only one doctor permanently since 1994, despite hearing on average 200 complaints a year. Chan Yuen-han, a legislator from the Federation of Trade Unions, said yesterday the council proposals failed to fully address public concerns. 'I have no intention to interfere with the self-regulation of professional bodies. But in the whole process of investigation, hearing and adjudication of medical complaints, there are members from the profession on the council taking part in it,' Ms Chan said. 'It won't be able to give confidence to the public that doctors would not shield their colleagues from being criticised when they make mistakes.'