Thai government improves universal healthcare scheme with digital, patient-centric measures

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Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin mandated the country’s health minister, Cholnan Srikaew, to assemble a committee aimed at improving services provided under the universal healthcare scheme. According to government spokesman, Chai Wacharonke, the prime minister’s objective is to simplify access to healthcare services for the public.

An example of the impending changes to the universal healthcare scheme includes eliminating the necessity for patients to initially visit their registered hospitals for medical attention. The proposal is to digitise the referral service, reducing the paperwork for patients needing to be transferred to another facility for treatment. However, patients would still need a referral document.

The spokesman further stressed the importance of reducing hospital waiting times and introducing home delivery of medication to eliminate the need for hospital visits. These measures would not only enhance convenience but also help in reducing healthcare costs.

Patients shouldn’t be required to go to their registered hospitals. Like those who have a private health insurance policy, they should be able to drop by any hospital. This is a new universal healthcare scheme that is patient-centric, Chai explained.

Cholnan informed the Public Health Ministry executives that he would share policy guidelines and provide more details the following day. These guidelines are split into 13 implementation groups and align with the prime minister’s efficiency-centered health policy.

Cholnan also praised the establishment of a committee, responsible for developing the national health system. The 61 year old prime minister will chair this committee, with Dr Surapong Suebwonglee acting as its secretary. The committee’s role will be to collaborate with other agencies to guide public health policy.

Cholnan also disclosed plans to discuss with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) personnel management and recruitment for the universal healthcare scheme. He indicated that the ministry would push for legislation to help address its manpower needs.

The ministry will have a committee to work on its manpower and a special law that will free the ministry from the CSC’s regulations, he concluded, Bangkok Post reported.

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Atima Homtientong

Atima is a dedicated news writer living in Bangkok. With a degree from Mahidol University, she focuses on reporting key issues and happenings around the country. In her off time, Atima enjoys writing and producing music.

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