PHUKET: The Laem Son Health Center in Wichit began providing kidney dialysis treatment to patients yesterday, and in doing so became the first center in Phuket to offer such treatment outside government hospitals.
“The center is open daily from 7am to 8pm and about 100 people have already registered to receive treatment here,” said Pada Panakanjanakul, managing director of Ratchawat Dialysis Center Co Ltd, which is responsible for providing the medical equipment and staff at the center.
“There are 11 hemodialysis machines and each treatment session takes four hours. The center can therefore treat 33 patients per day,” she added.
Staffed by two nurses and two assistants, the center charges 1,500 baht per treatment session.
“People who present their [30-baht] national health care cards have to pay only 500 baht per treatment session, while people who present their social security health care cards will not have to pay anything at all as they are covered for the full cost,” she said.
“We also provide treatment to people with private health insurance only, but we have yet to set a price. I think the rate will be somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 baht,” Ms Pada said.
“Anyone wanting to receive the treatment can register with Wichit Municipality or at the center. However, we need medical records of the patients from the hospitals they are receiving treatment from as well as approval from their doctors,” she added.
Sirikul Limnukul, acting director of the Public Health Division at Wichit Municipality, explained that the center was the result of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) in Surat Thani, which is also responsible for Phuket, recognizing that the kidney dialysis treatment being offered at government hospitals was insufficient for the number of patients needing it.
“The NHSO contacted the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office and asked them to find local administrative organizations with the power to set up kidney dialysis centers outside the hospitals,” Ms Sirikul said.
“The PPHO contacted Wichit Mayor Kreetar Saetan and he accepted the idea because he wanted to help too,” she added.
For local resident Somjit Boonjitmongkol, 56, one of the first patients to receive treatment at the center, cost was the critical factor.
“I have had renal failure since late 2009. I usually receive treatment at a private hospital where the price is 2,800 baht per treatment, but my income is not as much as it used to be. I couldn’t afford it.
“So I come for treatment here instead. The machine here is the same as the one used in the private hospital,” she said.
— Janpen Upatising
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