The Ministry of Health has again reminded all private health service providers to issue computer-printed prescriptions and results from laboratories after finding that some clinics still give patients handwritten paperwork which is not in accordance with medical regulations.

Clinics which fail to comply will be subject to fines and possibly closure.

Spokeswoman Or Vandine issued a letter on December 25 stating that the ministry has observed compliance with its directives for computerised prescriptions from some private clinics but not from others. She discouraged handwritten medical documents as messy and substandard.

“All private practitioners of health services, please implement procedures in accordance with the health ministry’s guidance in issuing computer-generated medical prescriptions.

“For any case where a private health service does not obey the instructions, the health ministry will strictly enforce measures on that business and issue a fine of up to five million riel [$1220], and in accordance with the inter-ministerial announcement by the health ministry and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, actions may be taken to revoke their licence and even shut down the business,” she said.

Vandine noted that the ministry had previously issued instructions during 2017-2018 to all private health services to prepare to implement a clear, computerised prescription system.

“I think the time has come that we should strictly implement the instructions of the health minister. We have observed that some prescriptions couldn’t be read. Even though it has not been many, this is an issue where we need to make improvements to bring all service providers in line with the ministry’s long-time guidance,” she said.

Vandine said that the warning was issued not from an interest to punish noncompliance but to address shortcomings in the country’s health services sector.

She added that the Ministry had occasionally received inquiries from people whose prescriptions were illegible.

Thirty year-old Mom Sak said that he had become accustomed to handwritten prescriptions being unreadable but hoped the ministry’s efforts would succeed.

“I support the health ministry’s measures to encourage private health services to utilise computers for prescriptions, but if they are written by hand, please write carefully. Please don’t make it readable by the doctor alone,” he said.

Run Sokhom, 29, said that she had received handwritten prescriptions which were difficult to read as well as some which were computer-printed.

“Handwriting prescriptions is not really the issue, but please write them clearly because sometimes pharmacy staff could not read the name of the medicine. In such cases, pharmacists might provide the wrong medicine which could affect a patient’s health,” she said.