The Public Health Ministry plans to develop Thailand as ASEAN’s medical hub, aiming to draw in more foreigners for medical treatment by 10 percent/year.
Public Health Minister Dr Pradit Sintavanarong said on the weekly televised program “PM Yingluck Government Meets the People” that the government is preparing the country to become ASEAN’s medical and health club.
The government aims to generate revenues for the country of Bt14 billion and attract more than the existing one million patients per year.
The duration of medical visa allowed for tourists is to be extended from 30 days to 90 days with four persons permitted to accompany one patient under conditions set by the government. Such visas are already provided for patients in the Middle East and will be given to those from Scandinavian countries. The government will be publicizing its promotions to attract at least 10 percent more foreign patients to the country per year within 5 years.
Foreign patients will be encouraged to seek treatment at private hospitals in order that service provisions will be sufficient and not affect the Thai public, while public hospitals are to focus on developing technology and medical knowledge as well as reduce inequality of service offered to the public.
Dr Pradit said medical conferences should also be organized, in collaboration with the Tourism and Sports Ministry, to publicize the work of Thai medical teams to the world. If organized regularly, he said the events would be able to establish credibility and reinforce a good image of the Thai medical profession internationally.