Health minister tries to allay fears over changes to universal health care scheme

PHOTO: Facebook/อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล

Thailand’s Public Health Minister says the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients scheme is not being done away with, he’s merely making some changes. According to a Bangkok Post report, Anutin Charnvirakul says he approved some amendments to the scheme on February 18, which are aimed at streamlining the UCEP scheme and improving how the budget is management.

“We have to make necessary adjustments (to the UCEP scheme) for the sake of giving fair and effective treatment while also considering budgetary factors.”

The changes to the scheme have caused some consternation, with many calling for the implementation to be delayed, given the current rise in infections. However, Anutin says people can still seek Covid-19 treatment at any medical facility for up to 3 days, after which they will be transferred to the hospital where their state welfare or health insurance in registered. However, from March 1, anyone who is not critically ill with Covid will have to pay their own medical bills if they wish to be treated at a private hospital.

Anutin has also announced a new scheme called Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients Plus, which he says will help Covid-19 patients with moderate or severe symptoms that require emergency treatment.

Related news

Meanwhile, in related news, the Bangkok Post reports that the National Health Security Office says most Covid-19 patients in the current outbreak are not experiencing severe symptoms. While the country is currently seeing surging infection rates nationwide, Yupadee Sirisinsuk from the NHSO says the situation is not as critical as in previous waves and patients will mild symptoms can receive treatment through the home isolation programme. She says people who only have mild symptoms should avoid going to hospital so that beds can be kept for the seriously ill who are in need of intensive treatment.

“The idea of home isolation is not to leave sufferers to fend for themselves. We’ve got teams of medical and care workers to regularly follow up on their conditions.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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