Health ministry accuses rural doctor of inciting unrest
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Health ministry accuses rural doctor of inciting unrest

Society's Facebook page, president alleged to be spreading misinformation

Dr Supat Hasuwanakul, president of the Rural Doctor Society, insists his transfer is unfair and goes against good governance. (Photo: Supat Hasuwannakit's Facebook)
Dr Supat Hasuwanakul, president of the Rural Doctor Society, insists his transfer is unfair and goes against good governance. (Photo: Supat Hasuwannakit's Facebook)

The Public Health Ministry has filed a police complaint against the Rural Doctor Society Facebook page and government critic Dr Supat Hasuwannakit, with accusations of instigating unrest and posing a threat to the public health system.

Dr Supat is president of the Rural Doctor Society (RDS) and has been publicly criticising the ministry under his own name over his recent transfer.

Ministry spokesman Rungruang Kitpati said on Tuesday that the ministry closely monitored the Rural Doctor Society's Facebook page and concluded it did not provide useful information to society. It was being used to stir up social discontent and only created misunderstanding.

The ministry believed the page had a hidden political agenda and focused on attacking others, using false information, for the benefit of cronies, and had greatly affected the country’s public health services. The social media page did not conform to the guidelines established by the RDS decades ago, which focused on the good of the rural people and the public health system, Dr Rungruang said.

“Now, the page is considered to be a threat to the country’s public health system, giving false information and instigating unrest for the benefit of some people,’’ the ministry spokesman alleged.

The ministry decided to file a complaint against the page and Dr Supat, in his capacity as president of the RDS, even though he kept saying he had nothing to do with the page and denied any knowledge of posts made on the page.

His remarks showed a lack of responsibility, Dr Rungruang said.

“The ministry wants to convey a message to people about the Rural Doctor Society Facebook. Nobody takes responsibility for any posts on its page. People should not believe any information on it. It looks like a ghost page, an illegal one that must face legal action,’’ the ministry spokesman said.

He said the latest post on the page accused Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul of issuing an order to close the ministry’s gates to stop protesters from entering. He said the minister did not issue the order. It was a decision jointly made by ministry executives and police.

The gathering would cause trouble for people who arrived to see government officials and obstruct people from getting the Covid-19 vaccine service at a unit inside the ministry, Dr Rungruang said.

Dr Supat has been crying foul over his transfer from Songkhla’s Chana Hospital to Saba Yoi Hospital in the same southern province.

He said it had something to do with his role at the RDS, which was highly critical of the ministry's policies on cannabis use, Covid-19 and vaccine management.

Dr Sawat Apiwachaneewong, an inspector-general at the ministry, insisted the transfer was in line with regulations, and said he was not worried by Dr Supat's threat to bring a lawsuit in the Administrative Court.

He said a new director to succeed  Dr Supat has already been selected.

On his own Facebook account, Dr Supat said he was pleased to be going to work in Saba Yoi district of Songkhla, but he regretted the lack of good governance and lies at the ministry regarding his transfer.

He insisted his transfer was unfair and shook the morality of directors of community hospitals across the country. Good governance was vital to the administration of the country. Everyone needed a fair system.

“My transfer destroys the core principle (of good governance) and is just to satisfy one person's hunger for power,’’ Dr Supat wrote.

Dr Supat was quoted in news reports on Tuesday as being unmoved by the ministry's police complaint while standing firm on his threat to file suit with the Administrative Court over his transfer.

He said he had to start work at Saba Yoi Hospital within 15 days of the transfer order. He was still at Chana Hospital clearing his workload and preparing to hand over to his successor. He would go to Saba Yoi next week.

The Rural Doctor Society Facebook logo.

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