The president of the Hong Kong Public Doctors’ Association, Arisina Ma, has criticised the Hospital Authority’s decision to suspend from duty a union chairwoman who is facing national security charges.
The authority said the decision to suspend Winnie Yu – one of 47 people charged with conspiracy to commit subversion over their participation in primary polls held last summer for the later postponed Legco election – was made in accordance with its procedures.
By midday on Wednesday, Yu was still waiting to hear whether she would be allowed bail.
“If she is allowed to get bail and is released and waits for further legal action, she can return to work,” Ma said.
“So I just wonder why the Hospital Authority decided to suspend her at this moment before there is a clear decision from the court.
“I think what they have done is inappropriate, and it’s also not fair to Ms Yu.”
Ma also said she was “astonished” by the news that the University of Hong Kong had decided against renewing the contract of renowned hepatitis expert, Lai Ching-lung.
Local media reports said the university’s selection and promotion committee had decided not to renew the part-time contract of the 73-year-old chair of medicine and hepatology.
There was also speculation that this may be linked to his public support for striking hospital workers last year, who had demanded that the government close the border with the mainland to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“Most of the public will link up the two issues together unless they give a better answer or better explanation for their decision,” Ma said.
She said Lai's departure from the university would have a big impact on the medical community.
“I think his continued input, no matter to research work or the clinical aspect, is very important to Hong Kong’s medical schools as well as to the Queen Mary Hospital,” she said, adding young doctors would miss his guidance.
“Nowadays, the workload of teaching medical students is really heavy, so if you let one such valuable teacher leave, it must have great impact to the students as well as the young doctors.”