Date
27 May 2017
Only a small number of doctors in public hospitals are civil servants. The rest are under the Hospital Authority which does not have its own salary adjustment mechanism. Photo: HKEJ
Only a small number of doctors in public hospitals are civil servants. The rest are under the Hospital Authority which does not have its own salary adjustment mechanism. Photo: HKEJ

Major doctors’ groups to join sit-in over pay dispute

Hong Kong’s biggest medical associations are taking part in a sit-in protest by public hospital doctors demanding an extra pay increase.

The Hong Kong Medical Association, Hong Kong Doctors Union, Hong Kong Specialist Medical Association and Médecins Inspirés, said they will send representatives to the protest.

The mass action will be held on Wednesday in the lobby of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Ming Pao Daily reports.

The doctors want an additional 3 percent pay hike in line with extra increases for senior civil servants.

They are accusing the government of deception in its decision to exclude them from the Civil Service Pay Level Survey.

The survey was the basis for an additional 3 percent increase for senior civil servants.

The Hospital Authority (HA) said the survey does not apply to government doctors.

It will meet on Thursday to discuss a salary adjustment mechanism which has been lacking since its founding 25 years ago. 

HA chief executive Leung Pak-yin is expected to address the protesters but there is no word if chairman John Leong or senior executives from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department will meet them.

Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said the Hospital Authority should have its own salary adjustment scheme that could be implemented progressively in order to maintain staff morale.

However, Pierre Chan, president of the Hong Kong Public Doctors’ Association, said such a mechanism takes time while the problem demands an immediate solution.

He said the authority should state clearly if salary adjustments for public hospital doctors are linked to the civil service pay structure before any mechanism is introduced.

Only a small number of doctors in public hospitals are civil servants. 

Frontline doctors are frustrated by the lack of consultation over the issue, he said.

Yuen Kwok-yung, a microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), said the government’s stance on the matter is an “insult to medical professionals”.

And Lo Chung-mau, HKU chair professor of hepatobiliary surgery, said he supports the doctors but will not join the protest. Yuen said he has yet to make up his mind.

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