Thailand hospitals: everything you need to know

Thailand is known for its high standard of healthcare. The country is home to world-class hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment and skilled doctors who received their training abroad. Although the standard of healthcare is generally high, not every hospital in Thailand offers the same thing. There’s a range in quality among hospitals; some are definitely better than others.

As a foreigner, the process of finding the right Thai hospital for you can be pretty challenging. You need to do a lot of research on which hospitals deliver a high level of care. In addition, the whole process, from finding a hospital to paying the bills, can be different from what you’re used to in your home country. That’s why we created this guide – to help you understand more about Thai hospitals and pick the best one for your needs.

Type of Hospitals in Thailand

There are two main types of hospitals in Thailand: government hospitals and private hospitals. Both offer treatment for a wide range of illnesses. Still, you’ll get different experiences since they provide different facilities and services.

Government Hospital

If you’re looking for the most affordable medical treatment in Thailand, government hospitals can be a great choice. They usually offer cheaper prices than private hospitals. In addition, they don’t inflate the cost of medications like most private hospitals in the country.

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Government hospitals in Thailand are usually operated under the Ministry of Public Health or medical schools. Most of them put their focus on low-cost medical treatment for Thai citizens. Since these hospitals receive a significant number of patients every day, you might have to wait a few hours to see a doctor. Due to this reason, some people arrive earlier than 6 am to avoid long queues. Once you see a doctor, you might need to wait again for your treatment. Unless it’s urgent, you usually have to wait a month or two to undergo your treatment.

While the hospital staff are friendly and happy to help you, they won’t have much time to care for you because the hospital is always so crowded. Therefore, if you need their help, it’s important to be patient. There are no international help desks in government hospitals. Still, most of the staff should be able to communicate in basic English. However, it’s still a great idea to bring a translator or a Thai friend to help you communicate with the staff.

In terms of equipment, government hospitals in major cities like Bangkok are usually well-equipped with the latest medical technology. Some major hospitals run by medical schools even have more advanced equipment than private hospitals.

Premium Clinics

Premium clinics are special clinics available in some government hospitals in the country. In addition to offering medical services outside of working hours, they also provide more experienced doctors and shorter waiting times. The treatments cost are higher than the regular service in government hospitals but still much lower than in private hospitals.

Private Hospital

If you don’t want to wake up early in the morning to queue or waste your time waiting to see a doctor, private hospitals should be your top choice. Besides offering shorter waiting times, these hospitals are also known to offer more experienced medical practitioners, great customer service, and well-trained staff.

The customer service is better, and the staff are more attentive because private hospitals aren’t usually too crowded. In addition, these hospitals usually offer top-tier facilities, the newest medical technology, and similar levels of treatment as hospitals in the UK and US.

With everything that private hospitals offer, expect to pay a lot more money than you would in a government hospital. However, the cost of medical treatment in Thailand’s private hospitals is still cheaper than in the west. Millions of people worldwide, or medical tourists, even fly to Thailand to get their treatment at private hospitals here.

Thailand hospitals: everything you need to know | News by Thaiger

Type of Doctors

You’ll meet different types of doctors at both government and private hospitals. The main types of doctors you’ll meet are residents (licensed doctors who are learning a speciality), fellows (doctors who have completed their residency and are doing further training in a speciality), and attendings (trained doctors practising in their speciality).

In government hospitals, you might meet all three types of doctors. Additionally, you might also become a case study for medical students and intern doctors. Private hospitals, on the other hand, usually only have fellow and attending doctors to ensure their good reputation of having the best doctors.

Thailand hospital
PHOTO: fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay.

The Process of Going to Hospital in Thailand

Finding the right hospital

The easiest way to look for a hospital in Thailand is through the internet. Most of the hospitals, especially private hospitals, will have a website that provides info in English and several other languages.

If searching and deciding the best hospital for your needs is too time-consuming, you can get the help of professional medical tourism companies like MyMediTravel. The team at MyMediTravel is ready to help you find the right hospital for your specific needs. Thus, you can save so much time and effort. In addition, their service is free, with no mark-ups applied to the fees you pay on their site.

Making an appointment

Once you find the best hospital for your treatment, the next thing you need to do is schedule an appointment. For government hospitals, you usually can’t make an appointment online. You’ll have to walk in as early as possible before 6 or 7 am. With private hospitals, on the other hand, you can usually make an appointment online. The hospital will usually contact you within 48 hours.

If you’re using a medical tourism company, they’ll usually help arrange everything for you.

Documents you need to bring

As a foreigner, you will need to use your passport to register for hospitals. Even if you have already scheduled an appointment online, you should still bring your passport every time you visit the hospital. If you have health insurance, it’s also important to bring your insurance card to show to the hospital staff during your registration process.

Arriving at the hospital

Even when you’re somehow able to set up an appointment in a government hospital, it’s still a good idea to arrive as early as possible. You’ll need to fill in registration forms and get a queue number before you see a doctor, so if you arrive late, you might not see a doctor that day.

If you make an appointment in a private hospital, you might want to arrive at least 30 to 40 minutes early to avoid any difficulties. It usually takes around 30 minutes to register, get a check-up, and wait for your doctor.

Getting admitted

If you need to be admitted to a hospital, you’ll have the freedom to choose to stay in a private room or a shared room. Along with private and shared rooms, private hospitals also offer VIP rooms and royal suites. These rooms are usually very expensive by Thai standards, but they have more amenities and even tasteful decorations that resemble 5-star hotels.

Paying for your hospital bills

In most hospitals in Thailand, if you don’t have health insurance, you’ll need to pay out of pocket for your hospital bills right after your treatment is done. You can usually pay by cash, debit, or credit card.

If you have health insurance and your insurance company is a partner of the hospital, all you have to do is sign some documents, and you don’t have to pay anything. However, if your insurance company isn’t a partner of the hospital, you’ll have to pay for the medical bills with your own money, keep the receipts, and apply for reimbursement to your insurance company.

In general, you might have to follow the following steps to pay for your hospital bills:

  • Go to the pharmacy, drop off your prescription, and get a queue number
  • Wait until your name and queue number is called by a cashier
  • Pay your medical bill at the cashier
  • Pick up your medication.
Thailand hospitals: everything you need to know | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Pixabay.

And there you have it, our guide to Thai hospitals. If the process is too daunting for you, be sure to visit MyMediTravel and let them help you out!

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Cita Catellya

Cita Catellya is a journalist and writer who covers a range of topics from medical and property to leisure and tourism. Her career began as a copywriter 5 years ago, where she worked with several brands in Indonesia to help them increase their online presence. Cita writes in both English and her native Bahasa Indonesia

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