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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Shortage of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients worrisome

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: Empty beds for Covid-19 patients are getting harder to find.

A shortage of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients is spreading throughout Thailand, as the Coronavirus surges through the country, and people are getting desperate to secure a bed for their loved ones. Even celebrities are posting on social media in an attempt to get a space in the rapidly filling hospitals. Government officials say there are enough beds for everyone with Covid-19 but not all beds are in luxury facilities. The National Health Security Office says a 700-person waiting list exists for Covid-19 infected patients to get a hospital bed. The NHSO performs daily check-ups and advice anyone needing help to call 1330 or the Department of Medical Services at 1668.

The president of the Private Hospital Association asserts that the shortage is not as dire as it seems, and a lot of the problem stems from how private hospitals are handling bed allocation. He claims that private hospitals didn’t make proper arrangements and are not referring Covid-19 infected patients out of their medical network in order to charge for treatment even though the government is paying for Covid-19 expenses.

Part of the problem is that hospitals are required to admit all patients as soon as they test positively for Coronavirus to avoid spreading. As a result, some private hospitals have stopped testing for Covid-19 when they don’t have beds to accommodate them.

25,000 extra beds have been requested by the government to beef up hospital capacity along with the quick building of makeshift field hospitals. The Health Minister encourages hospitals to partner with hotels in the recently launched “hospitel” program to handle patients and free up ICU beds for more severe Covid-19 infections.

The Ministry of Public Health is considering self-treatment at home for patients who live alone when hospitals hit capacity. The Health Minister requested Friday a self-care guidebook be created by the Department of Medical Services designed for stay-at-home Covid-19 patients who may need to treat themselves. Asymptomatic patients will be the most likely to be assigned to self-care at home if they live alone and will not spread the virus.

The National Institute for Emergency Medicine and Erawan Medical Centre Bangkok of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are working to create more beds and asking people to stay calm. They say Covid-19 beds are still available in Bangkok though numbers are limited. As of now, 9,183 beds exist in total with 4,244 still available, including new beds added to Bang Khun Thian Geriatric Hospital and field hospitals at Bangkok Arena and Chalerm Phrakiat Bang Bon Stadium.

In the meantime, even celebrities have found themselves scrambling to find hospital beds for Covid-19 infected friends and family. Star Chiang Mai United footballer Boworn Tapla contracted Covid-19 on April 12 and then later discovered his wife and 2 daughters also were infected. After being placed in a long queue by the hospital that diagnosed them, Boworn posted a plea for help on Instagram. After 4 days, they finally found beds for his family at Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health in Bangkok, and yesterday Chiang Mai United management and the chairman of Chiang Mai provincial administrative organisation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar


    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    why do you hospitalize all covid patients? only a small percentage usually needs that. just ask them to self-isolate at home… keep beds for those who will really need it…

  2. Avatar


    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    It’s time for Thailand and the Thaiger to take a “calm pill”. These reports only engender an atmosphere of panic. My Country has been through this before you, as have many other countries. It needs to met with calm and a plan. “Ring fencing” of those infected. Isolation and contact tracing. Lockdowns should be short and targeted to give contact tracers a chance to identify cases. I say these things in the hope that this might be the plan Thailand has adopted from the experience if other countries. If not, take heed!

    • Thaiger


      Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 6:14 pm

      We’ll continue to report the daily numbers at this time, factually and without emotion. We’ll leave the decision to lockdown to people paid a lot more than us.

  3. Avatar


    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    Looks emptt to me just another story created my friend went to the hospital asked the nurse if they has many patience from covid she didnt say . We the poeple around the world are waking up to this over sight of Govt..

  4. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    Well stop putting asymptomatic patients in hospital beds!
    Their health is not impaired. They can work.
    They can function as normal, and all they need to do is stay home for two weeks so they do not spread the virus.
    But no, there is a racket going on which puts more persons in hospital beds, to make more money, Plus the rotten government keep their emergency powers.
    I doubt most of them are infected – there are no second opinions.

  5. Avatar


    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    “ in order to charge for treatment ” – par for the course.

  6. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 11:28 am

    “Why do you hospitalize all covid patients? only a small percentage usually needs that. just ask them to self-isolate at home…”

    Because “asking” doesn’t work, because not everyone does as they’re “asked”.

    It’s not because the patients “need” it but because the rest of the population “need” it to avoid extensive, long term lockdowns like the West.

    SAGE, the UK’s expert advisory group, estimated that only 20% of those “asked” to self-quarantine in the UK actually did so.

    This isn’t some Thai fad.

    New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and parts of Indonesia including Bali all do it as well, as do Taiwan, S Korea and Malaysia if they don’t think you can self-isolate adequately at home.

    That includes all the countries that have had the fewest deaths and least lockdowns, so that’s hardly likely to be a coincidence.

  7. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 11:51 am

    “… in order to charge for treatment ” – par for the course”

    They’re businesses, not charities, there to make a profit, @EdwardV.

    If they didn’t make a profit they wouldn’t be there and people wouldn’t have the option of going to a private hospital (even if they have to wait) and paying for it or going to somewhere rather less well pleasant but free.

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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