The Ministry of Health yesterday instructed all state health facilities’ ambulances to stop charging a fee for transporting deceased patients from health facilities to their homes.
Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann said in previous years, families of dead patients were charged a small fee for transporting the bodies to their hometowns. The fee would depend on travel distance and would cover the cost of gas and food for the driver and medical personnel.
Sovann added that hospitals would now pick up the costs.
“The reason is that now the hospitals have more funds and more vans,” he said, without explaining where the additional money was coming from.
The directive orders health facilities to prepare a budget plan for the new move.
“In order to take part in poverty reduction for the citizens, hospital cars for transporting patients’ bodies are not required to take money any more,” the letter reads.
San Chey, executive director of Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, welcomed the change, but questioned the move. “Why does this decision just come now?” he asked.
“It doesn’t just happen by chance.”