Rural Doctor Accused of Inciting Unrest

On 2 May 2023, Supat Hasuwannakit, Chair of the Rural Doctor Society and Director of Saba Yoi Hospital, posted on Facebook that he went to Nonthaburi Police Station to acknowledge three charges, including defamation, insulting officials, and computer-related crime, filed by Rungrueng Kitphati, spokesperson of the Ministry of Public Health.

(Photo from Facebook 'Supat Hasuwannakit')

Supat has been well known for his ongoing criticism of the government, particularly COVID-19 mismanagement under Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health. 

In 2020, he criticized the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and antigen test kits (ATKs). He has also questioned the unfair transfers of medical personnel and opposed the free cannabis policy.

In December 2022, the Ministry of Public Health approved the transfer of Supat from Chana Hospital to Saba Yoi Hospital. Supat noted at the time that his transfer was not normal and unfair. He believed that his transfer was related to his criticisms of the Ministry. He insisted that governance is a core value of public administration. Transferring him was a reflection of the destruction of this core value.

14 February 2023, Rungrueng filed a complaint against Supat and the Rural Doctor Society Facebook page, explaining that the Facebook page did not provide necessary information to the public but misinformation, greatly affecting public health services. The Ministry believed that the page had a hidden political agenda. 

Supat said that earlier, he and a team of rural doctors were examined and transferred to remote locations. Supat himself was transferred to Saba Yoi District. However, he insisted that criticism of irregularities in the Ministry of Public Health is still ongoing. He added that this is a proxy war between rural doctors and top officials. He also encouraged everyone to cast a ballot on 14 May 2023 in order to restore good governance to the Ministry of Public Health.

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