Information for Patients:
According to CEOWORLD in 2019, Thailand was placed sixth in the world with the best healthcare system. Thailand deserved high praise for healthcare infrastructure, government readiness and cost. As of February 2019, there were 927 government hospitals and 363 private hospitals.
All public hospitals provide universal healthcare to all Thai nationals through three government schemes. The first two traditional schemes are the civil service welfare system for civil servants and their families, and social security for private employees. However, nearly a quarter of Thai citizens were still uninsured.
The Thai Government announced the universal coverage scheme (UCS) in 2001, where Thai citizens who are not covered by traditional schemes can gain universal access to essential health services for free. Some private hospitals are participants of UCS, but most are financed by private insurance and patient self-payment.
The Thai health care system is also advanced and affordable to foreign patients. Foreigners are expected to pay about $20 for a general visit and under $100 for an emergency room visit in private hospitals excluding the medication or procedure costs. Foreigners with a long-stay visa are required to have Thai insurance policies with $13,000 in-patient medical bill coverage according to an article in early 2019 which is covering more than half of the bill for heart bypass surgery.
Information for Health Care Professionals:
Eligible health care professionals must have obtained a degree of certificate recognised by the Medical Council of Thailand and holding a valid license from the country of origin.
To get a full license, all eligible must pass all 3 parts of licensing examination which are instructed in Thai and English, as well as have proficiency in Thai on both written and spoken. Alternatively, they can work temporarily for no more than 1 year in specific places and conditions under the control of the Medical Council of Thailand license holders.
Cosmetic and orthopaedic surgeries are popular specialities in Thailand. Foreign health care professionals on this expertise are on demand for marketing the country as an international leader in medical tourism.
Information for Travellers:
Thailand is unsurprisingly the medical tourism hub of Asia. According to WHO journal in 2008, it was approximated that 420,000 foreign patients were medical tourists and this number is growing at above 10% per year.
Thailand is also home of the tropical climate, which has led to an incidence of the food-borne and mosquito-borne diseases. Although there are no compulsory vaccinations required, all foreign travellers are recommended to get vaccinated for common infectious diseases and all disease groups mentioned above. Please make sure wear protective clothing and use insect repellents while you are outdoors, and generally be hygienic to prevent infections.
It is also useful to learn some Thai conservation in the hospitals as Central Thai and regional dialects are the most commonly spoken languages. However, most medical staff in public hospitals in large cities and popular private international hospitals are highly proficient in English.
Link to Ministry of Health website: https://www.moph.go.th/