TDRI: Medical hub policy causing doctor shortage in remote areas

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BANGKOK, 15 April 2013  – The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) has suggested the government to cancel its policy to establish the country as a medical hub in a bid to tackle the current shortage of rural doctors.

TDRI Director for Health Economics and Agriculture Research Viroj Na Ranong said the government’s medical hub project had caused a brain drain in the country’s medical industry, particularly in rural areas. The director elaborated that a number of doctors had been deployed to large private hospitals or provincial hospitals, leaving medical schools and health centers in local communities in shortage of personnel.

Mr Viroj said he had once proposed that a tax be levied on incoming health tourists so that the tax money could be used for the production of more physicians or the promotion of the “pay for performance” program.

However, Mr Viroj revealed that the government had been spending extensively on the medical hub project. He thus called on the government to stop its support as he believed the project would lead to more fights for medical personnel. He also suggested that the government persuade more foreign doctors to work in Thailand instead.