A third of the Medical Council's 28 members have petitioned for a second time for a review of a controversial case that saw a doctor reprimanded for overcharging, saying the conviction will seriously affect doctors' practices. About 10 members, several of whom represent the Hong Kong Medical Association, wrote to council chairwoman Professor Felice Lieh Mak on Monday asking for a review of a ruling that found the private doctor guilty of 'excessive' medical charges and accepting a 'rebate in disguise'. They hope the matter can be discussed at today's council policy meeting. On August 28, a disciplinary panel reprimanded Dr Ip Wing-kin for imposing excessive laboratory test charges on an elderly patient in 2006. The Medical Council heard that Ip charged the elderly patient HK$2,780 for a test while the laboratory charged only HK$1,400. Another laboratory charged HK$175 for another test but Ip charged the patient HK$1,400. The council said both charges by Ip were 'in excess of the actual laboratory charge' and the differences in charges were a 'rebate in disguise'. Some council members worry that the landmark ruling will seriously affect doctors' practices and say they are confused about what constitutes 'excessive charges'. They said doctors sometimes had to charge extra for providing services such as taking a blood sample and providing medical advice. The members called for a review of the case last month but their request was turned down. One member who called for the review said yesterday that the second petition was based on legal advice obtained by the association, which said that council members outside the disciplinary panel also had a right to call for a review of a case. 'The Medical Council has to explain clearly what excessive charges mean,' the member said. Medical Association president Tse Hung-hing said many members had asked whether the ruling would affect their practice and the association's council would discuss the matter at a meeting tomorrow. 'We want to work out some concrete advice for doctors and ask the Medical Council to consider reviewing the professional code of conduct to give clear guidelines to doctors,' Tse said. An editorial in the Medical Association's newsletter last week questioned the ruling. 'When a doctor charges the patient for writing a referral letter to another doctor, is he taking a rebate in disguise?' the letter asked. 'Do we need to examine how much he charges for the letter, how much time he needs to spend on it, or how he presents his charge in a receipt? 'When a doctor charges a patient for writing a prescription, do we need to undergo the above analysis? When a doctor asks his nurse to buy a box of medicine from a drug store and gives it to his patient, he marks up the price ... Is he taking a rebate in disguise?'