Plan for Khon Kaen to be a medical hub in Northeast

national February 07, 2012 00:00

By The Nation

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A medical hub will be created in Khon Kaen in the Northeast under a Bt4-billion budget.


Srinagarind Hospital, which is operated by Khon Kaen University’s Faculty of Medicine, will spearhead the project by expanding its fields of specialised service to accommodate the needs of patients.
Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon revealed yesterday that the ministry would request Bt2.4 billion from Cabinet for the project. Srinagrarind Hospital would fund the rest itself.
“I will ask for the budget when Cabinet convenes its meeting in Udon Thani,” Surawit said. 
The mobile Cabinet meeting will take place on February 20 and February 21. According to Surawit, the Bt2.4-billion budget can be spread over four years with Bt500 million needed in the first year.
Surawit said the project was in line with the 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan and the government’s policy to deliver quality medical services.
“The National Economic and Social Development Board has expressed support for the project. The investment in this is well worth it,” he said.
The Northeast is home to some 22-23 million people, while Srinagarind Hospital is one of the key medical facilities in the region. 
“Even patients from neighbouring countries like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia want to get treatment from this hospital,” Surawit said. 
He disclosed that there were also plans to launch medical hubs in the North and in the South. He said the Chiang Mai University would be responsible for setting up the medical hub in Chiang Mai, while Prince of Songkla University would be tasked with the mission to create a medical hub in Songkhla.
The medical hub policy first came about in 2002, with a principle idea being to attract foreign currency into Thailand by selling medical services. 
The policy is now in its second phase (2010-2014). The Health Service Support Department and Public Health Ministry have drawn up a plan for this period to attract at least a million foreign service-users per year, so the country can earn some Bt400 billion over the five years. The plan will be submitted to the Health Assembly and a public hearing held, before it is put to the Cabinet and takes effect.


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