Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday called on doctors to respect the honour and dignity of the medical profession and ensure they were always professional with patients and abided by ethics.
He made the call at a graduation ceremony for 2,588 University of Health Sciences students at the Koh Pich Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday.
“As well as the progress being made, we should also recognise something that has been complained about by the public, and that’s professional ethics. Doctors have to change their attitude.
“While the majority of doctors are good, there are still small points. But these small points can breed bad words, like the old saying goes: ‘When a basket of fish becomes rotten, so do all the fish.’
“So I appeal to health officials so that our doctors will pay attention to their words and their attitude towards patients without discriminating against any.
“A human life, whether poor or rich, has the same value. We have to pay more attention to the poor because they are poor and they come to us,” Hun Sen said.
The prime minister said if the issue was not addressed, the public would continue to have complaints despite the government spending millions of dollars on healthcare.
“Whether doctors are in the public or private sector, they shouldn’t put money first. Doctors have to put people’s lives first. Money comes later. Doctors must do whatever they can to treat people and not refer patients somewhere else if they have no money.
“[Private hospitals] scramble for patients but refer them to state hospitals if they can’t treat them. So I ask both state and private hospitals to carry out their activities in line with ethics and put human lives first rather than money,” Hun Sen stressed.
However, the prime minister rejected comments that only 10 per cent of Cambodian doctors were good.
“I want to highlight this point, that we cannot accept what has been said. Some people have said that 90 per cent of Cambodian doctors are bad, with only 10 per cent good. This is a serious insult to our doctors and something we cannot accept,” he said.
However, Hun Sen acknowledged complaints about the attitude of certain doctors, who were said to lack ethics and professionalism. The medical profession must not trivialise such complaints, he said, but rather address them to improve services.
Criticism was not necessarily bad, he added, rather it led to improvements if taken into account.
Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng said at the graduation that the University of Health Sciences is a leading Cambodian institution in the training of medical nurses, one that’s recognised internationally, according to Hun Sen’s Facebook page on Monday.
“In addition to upgrading its study programmes, the university develops the core capacity of students by allowing them to learn directly in the laboratory before they go out and gain experience in hospitals,” it said.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine could not be reached for comment by The Post on Monday.