Private doctors will get access to the medical records of public hospital patients under a pilot programme next year. Chronically ill residents of old people's homes will be among the first patients involved. 'These patients are regulars of public hospitals and if the private doctors of the elderly homes can get access to their records, it would help the continuity of care,' said Hospital Authority director Allen Cheung Wai-lun. Two private hospitals and 100 private doctors will take part in the trial. The participating doctors will have a password to access medical records online. Information available will include diagnosis of a patient's condition, medication history and laboratory test results. The government's blueprint for health-care reform says Hong Kong needs a centralised patient information system to promote public-private-sector co-operation. Dr Cheung said a Hong Kong-wide system - allowing two-way sharing of patient records between public- and private-sector doctors - would require government co-ordination. 'It will be a very complicated issue involving high technology and protection of patients' privacy,' he said. Dr Cheung said improving staff morale would be a priority in the coming year. Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow Yat-ngok had earlier asked the authority to standardise the pay of its 4,500 doctors, but Dr Cheung said the authority could do little at the moment to remedy the situation. The pay and conditions for doctors have changed four times in six years, according to the Public Doctors Association. It says many doctors are frustrated with the 'equal work-unequal pay' system.