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Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man has confirmed the government will not give extra money to the Hospital Authority (HA) for pay increases for public doctors.
Ko’s comments came on the day that he met public doctors, after they staged a sit-in (October 21).
He said, given HA’s status as a statutory authority, it can assess salary levels of employees on its own, after considering factors like the need for services, the morale of healthcare workers, and the remuneration package required to retain and recruit healthcare workers.
He added: “As the Government is now funding the HA on a one-line vote, therefore the Government will not allocate additional resources for this particular exercise.
“So the HA has to demonstrate that in the long run, it has the ability to sustain and absorb the recurrent expenses arising from this particular exercise.”
Prior to the sit-in, Ko had echoed this thought, saying the government policy is that the HA is not required to peg its salary structure to that of the civil service.
“A suitable and appropriate salary review mechanism would ensure that the salary structure of the HA staff could take into consideration the very important factor of its being able to retain suitable professional staff to serve the public,” he said.
Post the Secretary’s comments, the government welcomed the release of an action plan by the HA, with a timetable to implement the recommendations proposed by a steering committee to improve its services.
A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said, “The HA will regularly submit progress reports to the Government on the implementation of the action plan.
“The Government will closely monitor the HA’s work to ensure the timely and full implementation of the recommendations.”
The Steering Committee’s report in July 2015 focused on 10 major recommendations, including staffing and training arrangements, and issues such as long waiting times, co-ordination problems of clusters, and resources allocation.
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