Phuket’s Patong Hospital overloaded

Medical staff at Phuket’s Patong Hospital are quitting at an alarming rate due to complaints of being overworked. This has left one of Phuket’s busiest hospitals hugely understaffed and in danger of collapse.

There are only three fulltime doctors left on staff at Patong Hospital, which sees an average of 420 patients walk in each day. Even the hospital’s director, Taveesak Netwongse, tried to quit but his resignation was rejected by the head of Thailand’s Public Health Ministry.

Patong Hospital was built as a 10-bed facility, but has had to expand to 60 beds because of the popularity of Phuket as a tourist destination. The heavy workload has sparked an exodus of staff and doctors, who are moving into more lucrative and relaxing positions in the private health sector. "They have to shoulder a lot of workload but their salary is still lower than private hospitals. Many of them are tempted to seek higher-paying jobs in private hospitals," Taveesak stated.

Taceesak has tried to find solutions to keep his doctors on staff, but blames politics and bureaucratic red tape as hindering any useful progress. The director has promised his doctors a salary of 80,000 baht a month, while he continues to receive only 40,500 baht. His attempts to make Patong Hosptial a public organsation has been poorly received by his staff, however.

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