Doctors, nurses, healthcare workers join protests (video included)

Eight medical schools call for political reform, Feb 2 election delay & ouster of govt to avoid deeper conflict & violent confrontation.


Medical schools call for Feb 2 election delay

Health workers join rally, demand reform


Paritta Wangkiat

Around 1,000 health professionals gather at Pathumwan intersection on Monday to show their solidarity with anti-government protesters. (Screenshot from video)

Eight medical schools on Monday issued a joint statement calling for a delay of the Feb 2 election and the ouster of the caretaker government to pave the way for the setting-up of an interim government. The statement was signed by the heads of eight medical schools from seven universities - the Siriraj and Ramathibodi campuses of Mahidol University, and Thammasat, Burapha, Chulalongkorn, Prince of Songkla, Naresuan and Rangsit universities.

In a five-point statement, the deans proposed the election be deferred to avoid a deeper conflict and violent confrontation. They said the poll should be delayed until all parties concerned find common ground on how to achieve a fair and transparent election. They also called for comprehensive political reforms especially on the acquisition of power, the use of power and the scrutiny of the use of power. The statement called for all parties to refrain from violence, provocation and distortion of information and to support dialogue efforts to foster national reconciliation. 

Several hundred public health workers from various medical institutes also marched with the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to call for reform before an election and the ouster of the government and around 1,000 health professionals gathered at Pathumwan intersection on Monday to show their solidarity with anti-government protesters in what  was the biggest gathering of health workers since the PDRC kicked off its protests. 

The health professionals' demonstration was attended by doctors, nurses, and public health staff from across the country.  Rural Doctors Society (RDS) members, staff from state-run hospitals such as Siriraj, Chulalongkorn and Ramathibodi, and the National Health Commission Office also attended. Forensic expert and Justice Ministry inspector-general Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan, also attended. PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban later led the health workers from Pathumwan to Asok intersection.

"Doctors don't usually come out for street protests," Khunying Porntip said. "This proves that they see problems in Thai politics."

Before the gathering, permanent-secretary Public Health Narong Sahametapat called a meeting of 18 provincial health chiefs and told them not to abandon their duties. He instructed them to make sure that medical services and emergency care are run normally during the political turmoil.

Supat Hasuwannakit, an RDS core member who was at the march yesterday, said hospital services would not be affected by doctors and health staff protesting. Most hospitals have four shifts. Staff can join the protest daily whenever they are not on duty, Dr Supat said.

Health professionals join Bangkok Shutdown protests (Photo by Thanarak Khoonton)

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Writer: Jon Fernquest
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