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Health schemes to offer same treatment to cancer victims

Breast cancer sufferers to get uniform treatment first

Breast cancer patients are likely to be the first group to receive uniform lifesaving treatment under a reform of the government's National Health Security Fund, Social Security Fund and Civil Servant Medical Benefit plans.

"At least these three health-

care schemes will use the same course of drugs and treatment,"

Dr Atthaporn Limpanyalert, spokesman of the NHSO, said last week.

The health agency found that breast cancer was a leading cause of death among women.

Under the plan to merge the management of healthcare services and financial systems for cancer, the three national healthcare schemes will provide the same screening, medical treatment and palliative care for all types of cancer.

The NHSO is now drafting

the proposal to get approval

from the government. It is

also talking with the other

two plans about the merging of management of medical treatment for cancer and authorising the NHSO to be in charge as a clearinghouse.

Each scheme has been providing different medical benefits

and treatment for cancer patients. For example, CSMB patients can access medicines not on the National List of Essential Medicines while other patients cannot.

Cancer is the fourth area to be merged to increase the survival rate, improve the quality of a patient's life, ensure effective palliative care and control expenditure in the long term.

The first three areas were emergency medical services, kidney disease and HIV/Aids.

Last year, the government spent over Bt9 billion for nearly 200,000 cancer patients under the three healthcare plans.

According to a Public Health Ministry report, in 2010 cancer

was the leading cause of death. Over 269,204 cancer patients

were treated at a hospital and 58,076 of them succumbed to the disease.

Liver cancer was the biggest killer with 58,076 victims, fol-lowed by tracheal, lung, breast

and cervical cancers.

The ministry forecasts 133,767 new cancer cases and 84,662 deaths in three years.

"Medical treatment for breast cancer will likely be the first to be merged as it is almost equal under the three national healthcare schemes," he said.

The Medical Royal Colleges

and medical schools in uni-

versities supervise the medi-

cine and treatment for cancer patients.

The revamped operation is expected to start by October and save at least 30 per cent of the total budget for cancer treatment for the three plans. Last year, the government spent nearly Bt10 billion on medical treatment for cancer patients.

Dr Pongsathon Pokpermdee, a health economist, said he agreed with the government going ahead with the plan to merge the management of medical treatment and financial systems of the three plans as patients could receive better treatment.

However, liver cancer should take precedence over breast cancer as liver cancer is the leading cause of death among Thais especially those living in the Northeast, he said.

Dr Tawin Klinvimol, director

of Ubon Ratchatani Cancer Hospital, said his institution is ready to comply with the new government's healthcare scheme to provide medical treatment for cancer patients.

Medical staff have been fol-

lowing the guidelines issued by

the Medical Royal College to

provide treatment for patients,

so hospital bills would not be high, he said.

Health coverage for cancer

The number of times subscribers receive in-patient treatment

Universal Healthcare Plan

= 234,725

Medical expenditures

= Bt6.19 billion

Social Security Plan

= 21,348

Medical expenditures

= Bt147 million

Civil Servant Medical

Benefit Plan

= 26,416

Medical expenditures

= Bt2.98 billion

Compiled by The Nation


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