The Hong Kong Medical Association opposes the increase of lay members – meaning persons outside of the profession – in the Medical Council of Hong Kong without a similar increase of members from medical community, it said in a statement published in local newspapers on Thursday.
“[If] the number of lay members are far higher than the number of members from the medical community, the end result is that the government will monopolise the council, and the council will become the government’s rubber stamp,” said the association.
The government submitted amendments to the Medical Registration Ordinance to the Legislative Council on Wednesday, suggesting that the number of government appointed lay-members in the Medical Council should be increased from four to eight. It also suggested the creation of a second Preliminary Investigation Committee to process complaints.
While the number of lay and appointed members is set to be increased from 14 to 18, the members from the medical community will remain at 14. Prior to the change, the two groups each take up half of the seats on the council.
The association said that increasing lay members without increasing members from the medical community “will in fact not increase bureaucratic efficiency” because many steps in the complaint process require both the participation of doctors and lay members. ‘The addition of a second Preliminary Investigation Committee will require more doctors participating in the process,” it said.
“We only wish to keep the current condition, to let the elected members from the medical community count for half the seats in the Medical Council so that the government can be stopped from controlling and monopolising the medical sector,” the association added.
The Hong Kong Medical Association aims to “promote the welfare of the medical profession and the health of the public,” according to its website.