Thai medical council refutes claim that private hospitals have foreign doctors on staff

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Thai healthcare bosses have dismissed claims by some private hospitals that they have foreign doctors on staff to help with patient care and surgery. According to a Bangkok Post report, the Medical Council of Thailand says there is a limit on the number of foreign doctors allowed to practice in the kingdom.

Addressing claims made by some private hospitals, the MCT’s secretary-general, Dr Ittaporn Kanacharoen, says the few foreign doctors given the go-ahead to practice in Thailand must first obtain permission from the MCT. Such medics are only approved to work in state programmes, in order to mitigate liability risks.

Doctors applying for such approval are required to provide proof of employment from state agencies and will have their qualifications scrutinised as part of the process. They will also need a visa that allows them to work and, in the case of some, will require insurance.

“The medical council reviews all applications for foreign doctors every month. It is a temporary permit renewable every year, for state-run hospitals only.”

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According to Ittaporn, Thai doctors who have graduated abroad are required to have a licence to practice, similar to those who graduate locally. He goes on to say that any foreign doctors found to be practicing in Thailand without a Thai licence and a permit from the medical council will face prosecution.

Ittaporn concedes that the system could change in the future, in order to allow overseas specialists to practice in private hospitals in areas like the Eastern Economic Corridor. However, the MCT is unable to issue licences to foreign doctors working at private hospitals because the council has no jurisdiction overseas and can’t proceed in the case of a patient seeking damages.

“Under state programmes, however, state agencies shoulder the responsibility.”

Following the claims from some medical facilities that they have foreign doctors on staff, Tharet Krassanairawiwong from the Department of Health Service Support has warned private hospitals that they must comply with the law.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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