A desire to find fault and apportion blame has, from the outset, driven the Legco inquiry into Sars. And it has lived up to these expectations. Now, it is time for the finger-pointing to end - and for Hong Kong to move on. In the report, released yesterday, the select committee took five senior health officials to task for various mistakes made during last year's outbreak. The main conclusions - with one notable exception - come as no surprise. It has been obvious all along that if anyone was to be blamed for mishandling the outbreak, then certain senior officials would be in the firing line. We did not need an eight-month inquiry, 73 witnesses and a report running to more than 400 pages to tell us who they were. Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Yeoh Eng-kiong was criticised for not being sufficiently alert in the early stages, sending mixed messages to the public and for failing in his monitoring role. The performance of the then director of health, Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, was also found to be unsatisfactory. The committee said she too should have been quicker to recognise the danger signals when atypical pneumonia struck Guangdong, and had wrongly delayed listing Sars as a disease covered by quarantine laws. Hospital Authority chairman Leong Che-hung does not escape. He was held responsible, among other things, for the decision to make Princess Margaret Hospital a designated centre for Sars treatment - with the result that its staff were overstretched and services overwhelmed. More surprising is the conclusion that Tung Chee-hwa deserves praise for his commander-in-chief role. Mr Tung is given credit for making Sars the government's top priority and for being prepared to consider 'drastic measures' to halt the spread of the disease. Mr Tung deserves to be commended for taking the emerging crisis more seriously than other members of his government. But the achievement is relative. Hong Kong did not move as quickly or as decisively as other parts of the world faced with Sars, such as Vietnam and Singapore. Overall, the committee's fault-finding is predictable. But perhaps it does serve some purpose. The two previous investigations into the outbreak deliberately avoided targeting individuals. There were good reasons for this. It is much more important to learn lessons from the Sars outbreak and seek to prevent a recurrence. The earlier reports, therefore, rightly focused on our outdated health system - and how to improve it. But this did not satisfy the strong and persistent calls from the community for those responsible for the handling of Sars to be held accountable. These demands are understandable. The disease caused terrible pain and suffering. Many people were affected by it and 299 lives were lost. It is only natural that there is a desire to hold relevant officials responsible. These feelings were heightened by Mr Tung's failure to appoint an independent panel to look into the outbreak. This gave rise to suspicions of a cover-up. It was part of the reason why the Legislative Council felt it should launch its own inquiry. This vacuum has now been filled. The Legco inquiry was independent and it held officials responsible. Hopefully, this will be sufficient to ease public concerns. It can help the community come to terms with this unhappy chapter in Hong Kong's history. But the blame game should stop here. The committee was careful to take into account the difficulties officials faced during Sars. An emotional Dr Chan struck a chord when she told the inquiry: 'We tried to do our best.' We have now had three in-depth inquiries and the events have been examined in the greatest detail. There is little more to be achieved by dwelling on the past. Many suggestions have been made that can help improve our health system. Some have already been implemented. This must continue to be the priority as we look towards the future.