Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng on August 15 issued a letter warning of legal action against private clinic owners who still use their ambulances to take traffic accident victims to their premises despite the ministry banning the practice.
“This badly influences the whole health sector and the dignity of other medical professionals. Some ambulances have no licences from the health ministry,” the letter read.
The ministry recently issued several circulars prohibiting private ambulances from taking those injured in road accidents to their own clinics. But some private clinics, it noted, had failed to follow the circulars and continued to carry on with the practice.
The ministry singled out Malis Dangkor Poly Clinic in the capital’s Dangkor district and commune, issuing a letter warning of fines and instructing its owner to cease and desist.
It said the ministry would take action to close the clinic in case of non-compliance.
“We have observed that this clinic uses its ambulance to take traffic accident victims to its own premises for treatment despite the ban,” it said.
A Malis Dangkor employee who asked not to be named said the clinic had paid its fines and would follow the ministry’s instruction not to dispatch its ambulance to the scene of traffic accidents.
“We have followed the ministry’s instructions. If we observe any other rclinics doing this, I will complain. Officials from the ministry investigated us and found just one instance of us collecting a road accident victim,” the employee said.
In 2008, Prime Minister Hun Sen strongly criticised private ambulances, saying these they did not help people but instead endangered them. Sometimes, he noted, the ambulances vied with others to take victims as if they were picking up goods, placing the injured on top of each other and dropping them off at private clinics.