The Council of Ministers has rejected any plans to swap or sell land currently occupied by the state-owned Siem Reap Provincial Hospital, Health Minister Nuth Sokhom said Monday.
Government officials had been negotiating the sale of 1.4 hectares of land used by the hospital to a private property development firm, a Belgian Technical Cooperation official working inside the hospital said March 9.
Nuth Sokhom said he encouraged the Council of Ministers to reject any sale of the land.
“The Council of Ministers agreed with what I said regarding this issue,” he said. “Everything is over.”
The site that had been under negotiation houses the Chronic Disease Clinic, the Infectious Disease Department, the Tuberculosis Department, Emergency Room and Reception, a training center built by the UN, an administrative building, and a Handicap International rehabilitation center, according to Dr Georges Dallemagne, co-director of BTC’s provision of basic health services in Siem Reap and Oddar Meanchey provinces.
Dallemagne said Monday he had heard the government had rejected the sale, but added that he has not received written or oral confirmation from the Health Ministry.
“Officially it’s mainly because staff at the hospital” rejected the sale, he said, although he added that the Belgian Ambassador in Bangkok also raised the issue in a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen late last week.
“Everyone hopes it will be the final decision,” he added.
Hospital staff last week said that the government was planning to relocate the hospital buildings to a site about 15 km out of town. Such a relocation would have been too far for staff to travel, and some emergency patients would have likely died in the ambulance on the way there, hospital staff said.
“Definitely this is excellent news for Siem Reap…. It’s very important that there will be no further decision to move the hospital,” Dallemagne said.