PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) is ready to buy the abandoned Phya Thai Hospital but the deal is stalled because Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura has not yet approved a request for 215 million baht in bank loans to seal the deal, says OrBorJor President Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr.
Speaking at a press conference at the OrBorJor offices, K. Anchalee said, “[The Governor] knows the deadline is approaching. He has already approved a loan request for 108 million from the Interior Ministry, so why doesn’t he approve the 215-million-baht loan request as well?
“If he fails to do so and the deal falls through, he will have to answer to the public,” she said.
She told reporters that the OrBorJor has taken every step necessary to acquire the hospital, including commissioning feasibility studies, holding public hearings and negotiating the purchase price down from 492 million baht to 315 million – a discount of 36%.
She said that reaction at the last public hearing, held April 7, indicated that the public was “99.99%” in favor of the OrBorJor acquiring and renovating the facility, which would take pressure off the overcrowded Vachira Phuket Hospital.
K. Anchalee said the the property’s current owner, the Thai Asset Management Corp (TAMC), had extended the deadline for the OrBorJor to buy the hospital at the lower price until April 31. After that time, however, the purchase price would revert to 492 million baht, she said.
Under the purchase package the OrBorJor has negotiated with the TAMC, 108 million baht would be borrowed from the Interior Ministry’s Cooperatives Support Loan Fund. A request for this loan, half of which would be at zero interest, has already been approved by Gov Udomsak.
The request for the remaining 215 million baht, to be borrowed from the Krung Thai Bank and the Government Savings Bank, has yet to be approved.
Under the OrBorJor plan, the new hospital would be run by hospital management experts from Ramathibodi and Baan Paew Hospitals in Bangkok, who would open a new juristic entity to administer it, she explained.
Vachira Phuket Hospital officials could not be involved in the management of the new hospital because they do not work in the private sector, nor, in general, would the hospital treat patients under the government’s 30-baht universal healthcare plan.
“The OrBorJor plans to discuss this issue with the Ministry of Public Health, because the three Government hospitals in Phuket already share a fixed amount of funding under the 30-baht plan. If the new hospital were to join the program it would cause problems,” she said.
“It would be better if the new hospital formed an alliance with Vachira, whereby that hospital could refer some patients to the OrBorJor hospital, which would be glad to treat them,” she said.
K. Anchalee admitted that the OrBorJor still has to work out the details of how the new hospital would be set up and managed, but she defended the project, saying its main purpose was to provide the public with the best possible health care.
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