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Officials promise to address staff shortages at Thai government hospitals

PHOTO: Flickr/ILO Asia-Pacific

There’s been a lot of discussion in Thai social media about the country’s shortage of doctors and medical staff, in reaction to various political promises before the election.

Now, Thailand’s health ministry has set out an agreement with the Civil Service Commission, aimed at addressing a shortage of doctors and nurses in state-run hospitals. Under the agreement, more positions will be opened up, and measures will be put in place to reduce the number of medical personnel leaving to join private hospitals.

Thailand has a public health system guaranteeing every Thai person, even legally working expats, with free (or almost free) public health care.

According to the National News Bureau of Thailand, the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health says an extra 35,000 doctor positions and 140,000 new nursing positions will be created over the next 3 years.

In addition, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin says medical schools will  increase the number of students admitted each year, leading to more medical graduates in the coming years.

Officials have also agreed to review current regulations for specialists, in order to reduce the number leaving state-run facilities in favour of private hospitals.

There has been a rise in resignations at government hospitals in recent years, particularly among interns, according to the report.  This has had an adverse effect on efficiency and effectiveness at government hospitals providing Thailand’s public health services.

Doctors are having to work longer hours and treat an increasing number of patients, due to a shortage in medical personnel. This has led to many doctors and nurses at state-run hospitals being overworked.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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