Doctors hope the chief executive will use his policy address to promote medical tourism and announce that spending on health care and health insurance will be tax-deductible. The Medical Association and medical sector legislator-elect Leung Ka-lau say a health spending allowance would encourage patients to seek private treatment. According to the government consultation paper on health care reform released in March, health expenditure in 2004-05 was HK$68 billion, or 5.2 per cent of gross domestic product. In the same year, individuals spent HK$3.3 billion on private health insurance. Medical Association president Tse Hung-hing yesterday conveyed the profession's views to Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen. He said a tax allowance for health spending would give patients an incentive to opt for the private sector. 'More than 90 per cent of the patients in private hospitals are covered by insurance. Making health care spending tax-free can encourage more people to buy insurance and use private services,' Dr Tse said. Both proposals are contained in the government's plans for reforming health care financing. The association also wants the government to facilitate longer stays for mainland patients in Hong Kong for medical services, to promote medical tourism. 'Now some patients can only stay one week and cannot complete their treatments before they have to go back home,' Dr Tse said. The association also wants the government to reserve a seat on the Hospital Authority board for a representative from the medical sector. Current medical sector legislator Kwok Ka-ki was a member but his membership was not renewed.