Patient organisations are to gather outside the Legislative Council on Wednesday to show their support for proposed changes to the Medical Council. They will ask legislators to vote “yes” to the amendments whilst doctors opposed to the bill will also resume their protest on Wednesday.

A Legislative Council meeting discussing the second reading of the bill began last week, but the meeting was cut short due to an inadequate amount of members in the chamber. Doctors and medical students held a sit-in outside the legislature during the meeting.

doctors at sit-in
Doctors and medical students against new Medical Council proposals last Wednesday. Photo: Chantal Yuen, HKFP.

The amendment proposes the addition of four lay-members – meaning those outside of the medical profession – to the council. Dr. Wong Yee-him told HKFP last Wednesday that adding four non-doctors will not improve efficiency because “the majority of all the people sitting at the hearing have to be doctors. Some doctors are also worried that the addition of lay-members will only allow the government to more easily control the council.

Chairman of Hong Kong Patients’ Voices Lam Chi-yau, who will participate on Wednesday, told Apple Daily that medical complaints take a very long time to be processed and the person who brought the complaint has to suffer a lot of pain. He called upon lawmakers to pass the bill.

However, doctors protesting against the amendment have already said that the change will not help shorten wait times in the complaint process.

See also: ‘This is a fight’: Doctors rally at legislature against gov’t ‘intervention’ in Medical Council

Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man.
Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man. Photo: UNICEF HK.

Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man told local media that the bill had been supported by most lawmakers before the meeting last week, but some parties and lawmakers had political concerns which were not based on facts. He said that the amendments would affect society, patients, as well as patient organisations and asked that lawmakers face their voters and think carefully.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.