The new chief executive of the Hospital Authority, Tony Ko, said on Thursday that it is inappropriate for staff to hold rallies at public hospitals.

Doctors and nurses had staged a number of protests this summer against the now-withdrawn extradition bill, with some making allegations of police brutality, and others complaining that officers looking to arrest protesters have hindered patient treatment.

A war of words between police and hospital staff also led to officers abandoning their posts in some accident and emergency departments.

Ko said he has written an email to the authority’s staff telling them that caring for patients should be their top priority.

But he didn’t give a direct answer when asked whether he was implementing an official ban on protests.

“In general we don’t think that a hospital is the most suitable place to hold a demonstration or protest … because we have to look after patients who come to hospital to receive medical care and recover. It’s very important for us to provide a place which is safe and comfortable,” he said.