Health system staggering under foreign laborers

PHUKET TOWN: Health officials here have urged the Thai government to force employers of foreign manual laborers to bear the cost of medical treatment for their workers. Their plea came after revelations that the health system is staggering under the increasingly heavy costs of providing health care to both legal and illegal laborers. Dr Boonrieng Chuchaisangrat, chief of the Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO), said yesterday that the Ministry of Public Health spent about 1 billion baht last year to take care of legal and illegal foreign laborers working in Thailand. In Phuket alone, the figure was 10 million baht, spent on treating injuries from accidents, treatment of diseases and disease control. HIV-related cases accounted for more than half of the cost. In the first three months of this year, 1,500 foreign laborers in Phuket received medical treatment costing a total of 900,000 baht. “For humanitarian and ethical reasons, we have to take care of patients without exception, no matter who they are or where they come from,” said Dr Boonrieng. “We have already covered their hospital bills, which we will never get back from the workers or their employers,” said Montira Na Phattalung, chief assistant of the PPHO. “The government needs to introduce stronger measures to take care of these problems,” she added.

Phuket News
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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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