Connect with us


Phuket medical tourism threatened by taxi thuggery

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: One of Phuket’s leading hospitals has complained that ‘taxi mafia’ are preventing its drivers from picking up patients staying at certain resort hotels.

The complaint was one of many aired at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall on the topic of tourists being cheated in Phuket. The meeting was chaired by new Phuket Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa.

Pareeya Jullaphong, director of business development at Bangkok Hospital Phuket in Phuket Town, told the meeting that ‘taxi mafia’ has prevented hospital vehicles from picking up patients for about one year now.

“Sometimes we have to pick up patients from hotels as part of our service agreement. We have to hire other vans or limousines to pick up our patients, because we do not use ambulances to pick up customers who are not emergency cases. When we go to pick them up from the hotels, local taxi drivers surround our vehicles, scaring our customers,” she explained.

“Fortunately none of our workers has been attacked yet,” she added.

In order to avoid blockades, patients have to walk a long way with their belongings, she said.

To alleviate the problem, the hospital advises its agents to tell patients not to stay in hotels the hospital drivers have issues with.

“We don’t do this to hurt the hotels, but rather to avoid influential people in those locales,” she said.

Bangkok Hospital Phuket was not the only medical facility affected.

Peter Davidson, assistant manager of international services at Phuket International Hospital, said his drivers had encountered similar problems, even when using clearly-marked hospital vehicles.

“We’ve had problems in the past, but we try to manage them on a case-by-case basis and have not blacklisted any hotels,” he said.

There were no such cases when ambulances were involved, he said.

Such incidents occurred with drivers from a wide range of tourism-related businesses, not just international hospitals. The two hospitals are key components in the Phuket inbound market, combining for 20,000 room nights annually, he said.

Phuket’s third private hospital, Mission Hospital Phuket, had no such cases to report. Mission Phuket CEO Atikom Sriratanaprapat said the vast majority of patients arrive on their own or by ambulance.

Despite being popular among expat residents, the hospital does not market its services internationally in the same way as Phuket International and Bangkok Hospital Phuket, he explained.

It was founded in Phuket 72 years ago as a non-profit organization to help the local community, he said.

— Chutharat Plerin & Stephen Fein


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)29 mins ago

Plan for 16-week gap between AstraZeneca vaccines dropped

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

CCSA: 120 day reopening will proceed with conditions

Tourism2 hours ago

Sandbox latest, CCSA says all regions reopening must reach 70% local vaccination

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 3,667 new infections and 32 deaths

Politics6 hours ago

Thamanat elected to role of head ‘fixer’ in Palang Pracharat party

Expats15 hours ago

List: China has over 50% of all foreign-owned condos in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Government plans 10 million vaccines for July

World20 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Vaccine deaths investigation, PM heads to Phuket, BMA extends vendor licences | June 18

Thailand21 hours ago

1 million AstraZeneca doses arrive, Anutin says “more” on the way

Drugs21 hours ago

1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine and heroin seized near Malaysian border

Coronavirus (Covid-19)21 hours ago

Pattaya bars plead for government help

Thailand21 hours ago

Colour-coded zoning revised, restrictions to ease nationwide

Transport22 hours ago

Department of Land Transport will reopen, issue licenses

Best of22 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Chiang Mai

Tourism23 hours ago

Krabi schedules 82 flights per week from late October

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

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

Phuket4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8