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Anchalee raps Gov over hospital deal

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Anchalee raps Gov over hospital deal | The Thaiger

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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Tourism

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

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Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger

There was the original Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns back in April and May in 2020, then again just before Christmas and New Year when the new clusters emerged in Samut Sakhon and the eastern coastal provinces, Patong’s nightlife was quiet enough, almost non-existent.

Now when the restrictions are lifted, Nimz will take you through Phuket’s famous nightlife spot Bangla Road, Patong Beach and Phuket Town. It’s quiet, but there are still clubs open and operating and ready to welcome you.

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Expats

Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up

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Deceased Phuket expat’s body stuck in hospital due to passport mix-up | The Thaiger

In a nightmarish scenario, a deceased Phuket expat’s body is stuck in a Thai hospital as his step‐daughter claims hospital administrators won’t release the body due to a passport mix‐up.

Gemma Swift, the step‐daughter of 75 year old David Donoghue, who died 2 weeks ago, says she is pleading with embassy staff in Thailand to resolve, what she says, is purely an administrative issue after Donoghue’s passport number at the hospital was from that of an expired one.

Donoghue’s current passport was on file with the British Embassy, but because it did not match what the hospital had, his body has remained at the hospital. Swift says it was something that could easily be corrected and the situation was “horrendous” for the family.

“The British Embassy over in Bangkok, they said that because [the number] was from his current passport, they were unable to change the letter. They have said that they won’t reissue a letter with the passport number that he’s got in the hospital with him.”

She said her family planned to arrange a funeral for him in Thailand, then bring his ashes back to the UK. As he retired to Phuket 15 years ago, her family would then take his ashes back to Thailand, as per his wishes, to scatter them.

However, none of his family members were able to travel to Thailand to be with Donoghue in his final days, as the mandatory 14 day quarantine period upon entering Thailand, would not have allowed them to see him.

“I thought this was a basic human right to be able to give somebody a funeral and I accept that there is always going to be red tape…but please just issue a letter and let us bring him home.”

She said before Covid-19, family members travelled often to Phuket to visit Donoghue, who once worked for the Thai tourist police. She says the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking as her family was unable to say goodbye.

“That on its own was heart breaking, and now to get this two weeks later, to find out we can’t give him a funeral, or get his ashes back, it’s just horrendous.”

“It’s like being on autopilot… once we know we have done everything we can, we can start the grieving process, but at the minute we can’t.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said they are assisting Donoghue’s family during the difficult time.

“Our staff are in contact with the local hospital and funeral director to help his family obtain the necessary paperwork to ensure his body is treated in line with their wishes.”

If the situation isn’t fixed, Donoghue’s body will join a mass cremation at the hospital.

SOURCE: BBC News

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

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Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger

In today’s Thailand News Today…. The island of Phuket has a firm plan to get its residents vaccinated leading up to an October opening for tourists, the Thai PM backs up his police over last Sunday’s protest violence and Thai Airway’s employee union criticises the changes to employee contracts.

But the plan must be approved by the national government by April, if the province wants to open tourism by October 1. Phuket has a resident population of around 300- 400,000 people.

Before you go rushing off to book your plane tickets we’d stress that this is another in a long list of proposals that have not come to fruition and we’d urge patience until the Government approves the plans.

Meanwhile the island has taken delivery of 4,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinations started yesterday, with priority given to 1,500 healthcare workers and 500 “at-risk” officials exposed to Covid-19 patients.

On a broader note… Thailand’s Tourism Minister says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving Thailand’s devastated tourism sector. According to the Minister, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a final decision on the matter.

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended police action against protesters taking part in Sunday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau used tear gas, a water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to drive protesters back from the PM’s residence. The PM insists the actions were in line with international standards. He says that police did not violate the protesters’ rights.

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. A researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says that even though the bats have tested positive for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans, and it’s certainly not the virus that causes Covid-19.

As Thai Airways tries to sell new contracts and conditions to its remaining workforce, the labour union of the national carrier is challenging changes to the employment contracts, where Thai Airways employees are being asked to agree to changes as part of the bigger financial rehabilitation program.

But a union representative says the new contracts are unfair because it includes fewer leave days and shorter holidays. The union has filed a complaint with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare.

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