Political meddling fears aired

An application by a former MP for a job with the National Health Security Office is worrying health groups, who say it could open the door to political interference.

NHSO board member Boonyuen Siritham revealed yesterday that a former Khon Kaen MP of the now-dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party, Atthasit Kanjanasinit, had applied for one of two new positions of deputy secretary-general.

The recruitment of two new deputies was approved by the board last month.

Dr Atthasit has previously served in a political position as secretary to the natural resources and environment minister.

Ms Boonyuen said other applicants included a NHSO official and a health activist from the People Living with HIV/Aids Network, Sureerat Trimakka.

Ms Sureerat said Mr Atthasit's application reflected the possibility that politicians might try to interfere in the board.

"I think a deputy's position should not be preserved only for doctors. It should be someone who understands public needs," she said.

NHSO secretary-general Winai Sawasdivorn said recently the new deputy secretaries-general would take responsibility for managing the agency's clearing house of claims and preparing for changes under the Asean Economic Community in 2015.

"There will be no political interference in the board," he insisted.

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Writer: Paritta Wangkiat