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Three-year wait for massage licences ‘too long’

A group of trained Thai traditional massage practitioners petitioned the Public Health Ministry to speed up their licence application process, complaining that over 17,000 had been waiting more than three years for licences.

Pranpriya Sonachoti, the group’s leader, demanded that the Department of Health Service Support explain why the 17,247 practitioners had still not been granted licences.

Though they have completed the standard training required to apply for a professional massage licence, the practitioners cannot start working until they have collected the licence, said Ms Pranpriya.

However, Dr Phattharaphon Chuengsomchetphaisan, head of the department’s division of health care establishments, insisted that qualified masseurs could legally operate thanks to the Sor Phor Sor 13 document, which is issued before the licence is granted by the provincial health office.

Dr Phattharaphon said he would also ask every provincial health office to speed up licence issuance.

The licence application had stalled after it was found that some massage training certificates held by practitioners may be invalid, prompting an investigation, he said.

The department has so far investigated more than 100,000 training certificates, he said.

Ms Pranpriya said the department hopes to inform masseurs soon whether their applications are successful and, if so when they can pick up the licence.

Thousands of massage practitioners who completed their training in 2016 are still waiting for licences, she said, adding that three years was too long to wait.