More staff to man Covid-19 hotlines after complaints of unanswered calls

Stock photo by Hassan Ouajbir for Pexels

Thousands of people have been calling Thailand’s Covid-19 hotline each day and many calls from those seeking hospital beds, medical attention or ambulance services are going unanswered. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha even called 2 of the hotline numbers and he says no one answered his calls. Now the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration plans to revamp the emergency call centre with plans to add more staff and call lines.

For the past month, in the midst of the largest wave of infections in Thailand since the start of the pandemic, up to 3,500 people have called the 1669 Covid-19 hotline each day, according to Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang. Many people have complained that they have been unable to reach the staff. The governor says the BMA plans to allow callers to leave their names and numbers allowing staff to call them back.

“Currently the 1669 hotline has staff working three shifts to answer inquiries around the clock… However, since the new wave in March, up to 3,500 people have been calling daily. Callers who exceed our capacity will have to wait for their turn, and if they hang up and dial in again, they will be put at the end of the queue. This has resulted in many people complaining that the line was never available.”

After the prime minister’s calls to both the 1668 and 1669 hotlines went unanswered, Prayut said he would look into how the hotlines were managed to fix the problem.

“I tried both numbers, but nobody answered. I want to find out if this is because there are too few health personnel manning the lines, or if they are too busy tending to patients in hospitals.”

The BMA will also get more medical staff to help transport Covid-19 patients to hospitals after complaints that some have waited at home long periods waiting for an ambulance. The governor says the some of the night staff workers while change to a day shift to help with transporting patients during busy hours.

“In the early phase, we will move some of the staff on night shift to work on day shift from 8am to 4pm, which is the period when more people require medical services… Then, we will increase the ambulances as well as their trips per day to make sure that no patients are left at home.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

Bangkok NewsCovid-19 NewsThailand News

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