Six Bangkok centres join clinics in 29 provinces in rural referral system
In a move to make emergency care more accessible in rural areas, the health ministry and National Health Security Office (NHSO) are teaming up with medical schools and Bangkok hospitals to help set up a patient-referral network.
Certain hospitals in Bangkok and nearby provinces are getting together at the initial stage to provide treatment to patients who need emergency care or suffer from complex conditions.
Authorities are hoping that this new referral system will help resolve the problem of shortage of beds in state hospitals.
The ministry decided to launch the patient-referral system after discovering last year that some 89,778 rural patients had to be transferred to Bangkok for further treatment. Most of the patients were suffering from complications with heart or retinal disorders.
Of the patients, 13,386 were admitted at Rajvithi Hospital, 12,933 at Siriraj Hospital, 8,455 at Ramathibodi Hospital and 7,947 at the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health.
Dr Sophon Sahamethaphat, permanent secretary for the Public Health Ministry, said six Bangkok hospitals had been designated as patient-referral network centres. The hospitals, namely Siriraj, Chulalongkorn, Rajvithi, Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health, Thammasat University Hospital and Ramathibodi Hospital in addition to the Red Cross Society will oversee the management of patients referred from 29 provinces.
They will also help the hospitals in 29 provinces strengthen their capacity to treat for patients suffering from complicated conditions so they no longer need to transfer them to Bangkok.
Initially though, patients with complications will be treated in Bangkok and moved back to their original hospital once they are out of danger, Dr Narong Sahamethapat, permanent secretary for Public Health Ministry, said.
Meanwhile, Dr Winai Swasdhi-vorn, NHSO secretary-general, said his office would cover the cost of patients who need to be transferred to Bangkok from the provincial hospitals that have joined the cooperation.
Zone 1: Siriraj Hospital will manage patients referred from Ratchaburi, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram hospitals.
Zone 2: Chulalongkorn Hospital and the Thai Red Cross Society will manage patients referred from Rayong, Chon Buri, Chantaburi, Trat, Chachoengsao, Sa Kaew and Prachin Buri.
Zone 3: Rajvithi Hospital, Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health and the Thammasat University Hospital will manage patients from Saraburi, Sing Buri, Lop Buri, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Nayok and Angthong.
Zone 4: Ramathibodi Hospital will cover patients referred from Nakhon Sawan, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Ayutthaya, and Samut Prakan.
Source: National Health Security Office.