The new head of the University of Hong Kong has admitted that family medicine training for its medical students is underdeveloped and something must be done to improve the situation. Dr Leong Che-hung, the newly appointed chairman of the university council, pledged to look into the structure and curriculum of the medical school to strengthen its family medicine training. His comments came as more than 100 doctors and 50 allied health professionals joined a signature campaign calling on the university to set up an independent family medicine department. The teaching of family medicine at the university is conducted by a small unit under the department of medicine. 'We have to consider the importance of family medicine in our medical training. I agree that family medicine is underdeveloped in the University of Hong Kong and I will do something about it,' Leong said. One of the options was to integrate the teaching of family medicine with community medicine and public health, a model adopted by the Chinese University medical faculty, he said. The comments from Leong were the first open positive response from the university towards the Medical Council's criticisms of its lack of recognition of, and resources for, family medicine. The Medical Council's five-yearly review of the two medical schools' curriculums said the University of Hong Kong's family medicine course did not compare well with international best practice and was relatively 'underprovided'. The council said that while both HKU and Chinese University had inadequate family medicine training, the latter had done relatively better. A spokesman for the HKU medical faculty said it had long supported the idea of making family medicine an independent department This had been discussed internally, and feedback had been very positive. The school said its family medicine unit would soon have two more teaching staff. The Medical Council and the College of Family Physicians have been upset by HKU's inaction since the council report was issued in January. Hong Kong Academy of Medicine vice-president Dr Donald Li Kwok-tung said: 'It is encouraging that the new leader of the university has shown a very good attitude regarding this matter, and will work in the right direction.' Private doctor Amy Chan Kit-ling, one of the four doctors who initiated the signature campaign through e-mails, said undergraduate training for medical students should be reviewed to match the government's policy to develop family medicine for the future reform of health care. The campaign, which started on November 7, received replies through e-mails from 150 health care professionals from the private and public sectors. The College of Family Physicians will hold a forum next month for its fellows, which number about 400, to discuss the future development of the specialty.