Thai healthcare facing huge crisis

THAILAND’S healthcare could be in a crisis as medical personnel are having problems staying in the state hospital system as up to 10,000 nurses have threatened to resign.

Up to 10,000 contract nurses have threatened to go on strike if the government refuses to hire them as permanent staff as the Cabinet on Tuesday rejected a proposal to add 10,992 positions to the civil servant system.

A group of nurses working in state-run hospitals said yesterday that more than 15,000 nurses were working as temporary employees of the government and receiving low wages and no civil service benefits.

Temporary Employee Professional Nurse Network’s (TEPNN’s) representative, who requested not to be named, told the press his group had started a campaign asking all temporary nurses to show their power by changing their Facebook profile pictures to include a message that if they are not registered as civil servants, they will resign.  Lots of negative comments against the Cabinet’s decision went viral since yesterday.

“We have up to 4,000 new nurses entering the system every year, but there are no more than 1,000 positions as nurses in the civil servant system,” the TEPNN representative said, adding that this is a chronic problem in our public health network.

The line for registering in the civil servant system gets longer and longer and now there are up to 15,000 nurses in line and receiving only 10,000-13,000 baht salary. They have to work hard without proper welfare and annual raises.

The nurses cannot tolerate the situation any longer and if nothing changes with the Cabinet resolution, they will leave the job, the representative said.

The May 9 Cabinet resolution on the Public Health Ministry’s proposal to increase civil servant positions for temporary nurses stated that the Cabinet had approved only 450 civil servant positions for hospitals in rural and border areas and forbade the Public Health Ministry from reserving more civil servant positions for nurses until fiscal 2026.

A strike by the temporary nurses would aggravate the already severe problem of nurse and doctor shortage in public hospitals.

The healthcare and medical services at state hospitals have been in a crisis for quite some time and aggravating as more patients from neighboring countries have come to exploit the country’s state hospital services at the expenses of Thai patients.

According to a doctor at Chulalongkorn Hopital, foreigners from the neighboring countries come here to enjoy cheap if not free medical services at the state hospitals.

“There are gang leaders doing the jobs for them.  Some time they colluded with Thai volunteer organization personnel, who provided them with emergency ambulance so that they can be admitted to the hospitals automatically right away.  Some coma patients were transported from neighboring countries and after treatment, they just refused to pay any fee.”


TOP: A bedside call the nurse button at St George’s Hospital. Photo: Andrew Bowden (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

By Kowit Sanandang


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *