A $155 million trust fund to assist families of people killed by Sars and those suffering long-term side-effects from their treatment was approved by legislators yesterday. However, lawmakers feared that the size of the fund - approved by the Legislative Council's Finance Committee - might not be enough to meet the group's needs. The government had earlier estimated that the total financial assistance for families of dead Sars patients would amount to $85 million, with $70 million for recovered and suspected Sars patients. Figures show that 1,456 recovered victims and 80 suspected Sars patients who were treated but did not have the disease may be eligible to apply to the fund. The latter are entitled to apply if they were harmed by the treatment and were in financial need. The assistance for these two groups will be capped at $500,000 for each patient. Twenty-eight recovered Sars patients have so far been diagnosed with a degenerative bone disease linked to the heavy dosage of steroids in their treatment, the Hospital Authority revealed this week. At yesterday's meeting, Democratic Party legislator Cheung Man-kwong said he was concerned that the $70 million could not help all recovered and suspected patients. 'Will you promise to allocate more funding if there is a practical need [to help them]?' Mr Cheung asked. Permanent Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Carrie Yau Tsang Ka-lai said the government would return to Legco to seek more funding if the need arose in future. Under current arrangements, surviving dependent children aged below 18 at the time of the parent's death will receive a special $500,000 relief payment. The government has estimated $37 million will be spent on 74 such cases. Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Yeoh Eng-kiong yesterday announced an independent committee had been set up to monitor fund applications. Its first meeting is due next week.