6 June 2024

Recently replaced health minister, Dr Cholnan Srikaew, has described as groundless reports that he lost the position in the recent cabinet reshuffle because he failed to control senior ministry officials.

He demanded that the Rural Doctor Foundation ceases exploiting the situation by spreading untruths, in an attempt to cause division in the public health ministry.

Cholnan, also a former Pheu Thai party leader, was unexpectedly removed from his post in the Srettha Thavisin government this week. Srettha replaced him with Somsak Thepsuthin, the former justice minister.

The Rural Doctor Foundation has claimed on Facebook that Cholnan was replaced because a group of high-ranking officials at the ministry tricked him into a conflict with the National Health Security Office (NHSO), which supervises the national health security system.

The foundation claims that Cholnan fell into the trap, set by his own senior officials, resulting in the failure of the system.

Cholnan wrote on his Facebook page that he has already spoken to Dr Supat Hasuwannakit of the foundation, who admitted that he was the source and had based what he wrote on his opinion.

“I told Dr. Supat that it was not appropriate to spread inaccurate information and that I did not want personal problems to cause issues for the system,” Cholnan said.

The doctor then apologised, Cholnan said. He quoted Dr. Suphat as telling him that the real intention of the post was to give him moral support.

“I thanked him for his intention, but he should have been more careful, as his writing made me appear incompetent in supervising my officials and victimised by them,” Cholnan explained.

The conflicts between the foundation and the ministry’s senior officials date back a long time, Cholnan added, and he has tried, since the beginning, to solve the problems.

He insisted that he had worked effectively with the NHSO’s secretary-general, who responded well to the requirements of the national health system.