Anutin defends amnesty bill, says necessary to protect doctors

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul came out on Monday to defend proposed legislation that would grant amnesty to doctors and policy makers in charge of the country’s vaccination plan by saying it was necessary to give doctors ease-of-mind as they deal with the pandemic.

According to a leaked document secured by the Move Forward Party and released on Sunday night, the government aims on passing legislation that would exempt from criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits those that decided the country’s vaccination plan.

In essence that would mean that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul, as well as the doctors that advised them, would be exempt from any future prosecution.

The government’s languid vaccination program has been criticized by the public and politicians alike for contributing to a mounting death toll and an uncontrolled third wave of the pandemic.

Anutin, on Monday, defended the legislation and said that Thailand’s doctors were treating hundreds of thousands of patients and needed to be protected against future prosecution so they could make hard decisions without hesitation.

He said the legislation would close loopholes where patients could file lawsuits against the doctors.

Anutin admitted that if doctors were using best practices they would be immune for prosecution anyway but said that the legislation would give the doctors further confidence and free them from worry.

He dismissed claims that the legislation was to grant amnesty to decision makers but did not elaborate further.

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