Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 200 clinics closed in 2015: Dept

200 clinics closed in 2015: Dept

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A dentist works on a patient’s teeth at a licensed clinic in Phnom Penh this year. The Municipal Health Department has closed more than 200 unlicensed dental clinics since the beginning of the year. Charlotte Pert

200 clinics closed in 2015: Dept

The Phnom Penh Municipal Health Department has closed more than 200 illegal dental clinics in the capital in the first six months of the year, and has filed complaints against their owners to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, health officials said yesterday.

According to Sok Srun, director of the Phnom Penh Dentistry Department, the crackdown began early this year.

“The dentists hold no dentist certificates or technical skills.

They just learned from parents and ran the dental clinics,” Srun said.

“They do not have skills, which causes infections or diseases, so we cannot allow them to run [the clinics].

They are illegitimate and we must shut them down.”

The crackdown is part of a nationwide effort, but figures on the number of clinics closed around the country were not readily available, Srun added.

Ly Sophanna, a spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said he had yet to see the complaints.

Ke Sovannaroth, an opposition parliamentarian and the chairperson of the National Assembly’s Commission on Health, said that she welcomed the closures.

“The commission is always holding meetings with the Ministry of Health on people’s health, but I have yet to see the department’s reports.

In principle, we do not want to see illegal operations.

They must be legal to ensure clients’ safety,” she said.

Dr Callum Durward, head of the dentistry department at Puthisastra University, said yesterday that while the closures would ultimately be good for patients, such crackdowns are not the ideal way of dealing with the issue of unlicensed dentistry.

“I guess that it is a good thing, in that there is no shortage of dentists in Phnom Penh.

In fact, many dentists are underemployed, partly because there are so many [unlicensed] traditional dentists, and I do think that their practice puts patients at risk, particularly when it comes to cross-infection control,” he explained.

On the other hand, he added, “I do feel bad for [the dentists], because that’s their livelihoods, and it will be hard on their families”.

“What some countries have done is register them, give them some additional training to make sure they’re safe, then allow them to continue to practice and retire” without renewing the clinic’s licence, Durward continued.

“Cambodia never did that in recent decades, and they’re dealing with problem now . . . But from a public safety point of view, I think the public is going to be protected by the removal of these practitioners.”

According to the Department of Hospitals, there are currently 117 clinics in the application process for proper dental clinic licenses.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STUART WHITE

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the

  • Soaring global fuel prices: an opportunity for Cambodia?

    Cambodia is feeling the squeeze from the soaring global coal and oil prices. Electricity du Cambodge (EDC)would certainly be hurting from this reality, and most likely re-assessing its plans to add more coal power stations. EDC buys half of Cambodia’s electricity from plants

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when