They also fear the move would endanger family medicine Most Hong Kong doctors are not ready to advertise because they fear it would make the profession 'too commercial and too cheap', the Medical Council has found. The council's ethics committee met yesterday to discuss the results of its consultation on whether doctors should be allowed to advertise their services. Under the ground-breaking proposal endorsed by the council in December, doctors would be able to place advertisements in newspapers and magazines listing their qualifications, information about their clinics and the charges for five types of service. The proposed maximum size of the advertisements is 300 sq cm - about the size of a paper handkerchief. The council's ethics committee recently invited medical groups and organisations to express views on the issue. A survey conducted by the 1,800-member Doctors Union showed that most members did not support the change. Among the 177 doctors responding to the survey, 88 per cent, or 156, rejected the proposal. A survey conducted by the Medical Association also received a poor response, with only 193 of its 6,000 members returning questionnaires. Among them, 109, or 57 per cent, were against advertising. The president of the Doctors Union, Henry Yeung Chiu-fat, said doctors worried that advertising would make their professional image 'too cheap'. Dr Yeung said family doctors also worried that patients would shop around for specialists directly, without a proper referral. 'The government is promoting family medicine. Having doctors advertising would be going in the opposite direction,' he said. The Department of Health, the Hospital Authority and the Academy of Medicine supported the proposal but these organisations did not collect views from individual doctors. The ethics committee will present the consultation findings to other council members for further discussion. Under the council's present code of conduct, doctors are not allowed to promote their services in the media at all. They can provide limited information, such as name, gender, qualifications and consultation hours on signboards, stationery, internet homepages and in telephone directories. Newspaper notices are allowed only for new practices or to publicise changes to conditions of practice. The proposal on advertising followed widespread complaints from patients about difficulty in finding information. Some practitioners also claimed to be disadvantaged by private hospitals and medical groups being allowed to advertise.