PATONG: Dr Taweesak Netwong, the director of Patong Hospital, has appealed to the public to donate funds to help him in his plans to create Thailand’s first state-owned “international” hospital. Dr Taweesak told the Gazette that since Patong is in a unique location which requires it to deal with more tourists than any other hospital in Phuket, it needs upgrading. He explained that in an average 24-hour period, 273 patients are treated at the hospital, most of them during the daytime. About 15% are foreigners. At night, most of the patients who come to the hospital are victims of traffic accidents, usually involving alcohol. Of these, a third are foreigners. To achieve his “international” goal, he said, he needs large amounts of money to buy expensive medical equipment and to hire more staff. “But in this IMF era, that would be against government’s budget-cutting plans,” he pointed out. Furthermore, even in the best of times, Patong could expect only small amounts of government funding since it is only a district hospital. The lion’s share of the provincial health budget goes to the provincial hospital, Wachira, in Phuket Town. Patong Hospital currently has 60 beds. A budget of 69 million baht is being used to construct a new building, scheduled for completion next month, which will double the number of beds. But apart from some extra cash for basic medical equipment, that is as far as the funding goes. The hospital has 140 employees, but just three doctors, though two more are expected to join the staff this month. Those wishing to make donations toward Dr Taweesak’s plan may do so by depositing funds into account number 837-1-02812-1 at the Patong branch of Krung Thai Bank. The account is in the name of “Capital Fund for Patong Hospital Development”.
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