Hospital inquiry says they have no 'political responsibility' No hospital chiefs will be asked to step down over their handling of the Sars crisis following a probe by the Hospital Authority. The report on the investigation, by a panel appointed by the Hospital Authority Board, did not apportion any 'political responsibility' among the authority's leaders, including chief executive Dr William Ho Shiu-wei and his senior management team, a source close to the investigation said last night. It is still not certain the full report will be made public. The report is expected to add heat to the public debate on whether government and hospital officials should be held responsible for the handling of the outbreak. 'The investigation is not a political trial. The report will be explicit in disclosing facts on who has done what. But it will be up to the public to determine who should take the political responsibility,' the source said. Panel members were aware of the possibility their report could be used by health-care staff and Sars victims in their legal action against the authority. However, this had not influenced their findings, the source said. More than 40 people - including about 30 nurses and the families of nine Sars victims who died - plan to sue the authority over hospital-acquired infections and delays in diagnosis and treatment. The authority said last night that the seven-member panel, chaired by Jockey Club chairman and former legislator Ronald Arculli, had already presented its report to board chairman Leong Che-hung. Dr Leong and six other board members had formed a working group to study the report and would compile a response soon. Compared with the panel appointed by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, which criticised the overall health system but did not blame any official, the authority's panel had taken a 'micro' perspective to assess individual hospitals' handling of Sars, the source said. The panel investigated matters such as what led to the infection of a high number of health workers and the inadequate supplies of protective gear for frontline staff. Among the 1,755 people infected by Sars in Hong Kong, 386 were health workers. The report will also look at details of the hour-by-hour decision-making at the Prince of Wales Hospital when the outbreak started. The report was completed a few weeks ago. It is understood that the authority has delayed making it public to avoid confusion. A spokesman said last night: 'It will be the board's decision if the report will be made public and if a summary or the full report will be released.'