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Medical malpractice drive in danger of dying an early death


Medical malpractice drive in danger of dying an early death

Cabinet must send bill to House by month's end

Veteran health activist Preeyanan Lorsermvattana called on the public yesterday to send an open letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urging her to back legislation on medical malpractice compensation.



The bill has been pending consideration since the last government, and is now awaiting approval by the Yingluck government before it can be forwarded to parliament for debate and voting.
Under Section 153 of the constitution, the bill must be tabled in the Lower House within 60 days of the opening of parliament.
"The bill on medical malpractice compensation now risks being nullified since there are only about three weeks left before the end of the 60-day deadline," said Ms Preeyanan, who leads a network of victims of medical errors.
"If the premier does not approve the bill within this period, we will have to go back to square one. We cannot afford to lose."
The health activist and a dozen patients affected by medical mistakes yesterday rallied in the Silom business district and distributed thousands of leaflets to back the network's assertion that the bill is necessary to prevent disputes between patients and doctors about medical errors.
The network said it would continue distributing the leaflets around the city to ensure the public learns about the importance of the bill and join them in encouraging the prime minister to approve it.
Ms Preeyanan said she hoped the government would forward the bill to the House before the parliamentary session ends this month.
Mrs Preeyanan has campaigned for the bill on medical malpractice compensation for many years to give patients a new legal mechanism to protect their rights in case of medical errors by doctors, instead of having to sue doctors and hospitals on their own.
She has attended more than 800 meetings since 2006 to make the legislation come to fruition.
The legislation has been controversial with patient groups and doctors having failed to agree on details.
Doctors say the bill must be scrapped and replaced with legislation that takes into account the interests of the medical profession.
Health activists have insisted that the measure go forward, and suggest doctors provide input during House and Senate committee debates on the bill instead.

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