Health professionals threaten action if demand ignored
Some 500 public health professionals and workers from related sectors rallied yesterday outside Parliament, threatening to suspend healthcare services if the House failed to pass the draft legislation on public health professionals, during this parliamentary session.
The demonstrators, led by Public Health Club of Thailand head Paisal Boungchuad, also submitted an appeal to Deputy House Speaker Charoen Chankomon, urging the House to consider their demands before the legislation became law on April 18, or else they would suspend public health services at local-level government health clinics.
Charoen explained that following amendments made by the senate, the draft bill was currently being considered by the joint committee of the lower and upper house, and that he would table the demonstrators' demands at the joint committee meeting on March 27.
Democrat MP for Phitsanulok, Warong Dejkitvikrom, commented that if the Pheu Thai Party MPs cooperated with MPs from the Democrat party, the joint committee's review would be completed by March 27 - in time to pass the draft bill within this parliamentary session.
In related news, Public Health Minister Dr Pradit Sinthawanarong yesterday said he was not concerned about a separate protest by rural doctors - conducted Tuesday in front of Government House - demanding Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra remove him from the top post. The protesters have vowed to rally every Tuesday until their demands are met.
Pradit also affirmed that the rural doctors' allowance adjustment would be a flat rate based on the "Pay for Performance" (P4P). The move, which has upset rural doctors, would ensure the system's sustainability and provide work motivation, Pradit said.
It will be submitted for the Cabinet's consideration next Tuesday and expected to come into effect from April 1.
Pradit said those doctors who served in the three southernmost provinces and islands would still receive the allowance without any cuts.
He added that the March 25 meeting of the National Health Security Office Board would consider the proposal to transfer the salaries of medical staff paid by the Public Health Ministry to the NHSO, so that this budget would be permanent.