State services below par, say private medical providers
PRIVATE health clinics say a recent government ban on their ambulances is forcing them to downsize and depriving victims of their superior medical services.
In November, the Ministry of Health made it illegal for private ambulances to retrieve accident victims in a bid to promote the public ambulance service, which it said is better equipped.
Sik Thireak, general director of Choam Chao clinic, said the ban has been damaging to the private health sector, which is the preferred form of emergency help of hundreds next to the notoriously slow government emergency services.
"There are some clinics that have been forced to reduce their staff, especially drivers ... leaving more people without care," he said.
Chantrea Poly Clinic general director En Voravuth said that the ban was a ruthless way to monopolise the health system.
"The reason they banned us is because Japan has donated a lot of money to the Ministry of Health, so they need to do it for their donor," he said.
Sik Thireak agreed: "Private clinics are better than government hospitals because their first priority is to save people's lives. Government hospitals' first priority is to meet relatives to collect money," he said.
"Nobody wants their clients to die in their clinic because they care about the impact on their clinic, too."
But Heng Taykry, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Health, reaffirmed his ministry's stance.
"We banned private ambulances to bring patients from accident scenes because they do not have the proper equipment to save lives," he said.
As of Thursday, according to official data, there have been 1,572 road-related deaths across the country.