Health System in Thailand

The Kingdom of Thailand has had a long and successful history of sound health development, this is according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Thailand has a surprisingly excellent healthcare system and it is a known fact that it has become one of the major Medical tourism destinations of the world. The cost of obtaining medical treatment for a lower cost than in many other countries.

More than a million healthcare tourists visit Thailand each year to avail healthcare services owing to its excellent and professional medical and healthcare quality. There is a vast range of healthcare here in Thailand and is provided by government hospitals, private hospitals, non-governmental organisations and private practitioners.

Qualified doctors, dentists and opticians are readily available in Thailand and Bangkok having some of the best hospitals in the world. 

Doctors and staff in the larger hospitals understand English and in certain hospitals special translators are available if needed. English and Thai will be the main languages spoken.

In Thailand doctors are specialists and do not have one specific place of work as in most countries they operate from a specific clinic. They work from different hospitals and private clinics that can be located all over the region. For long term treatments you may have to consult various specialists.

Health Insurance for Expatriates

In Thailand expatriates are not covered by state health insurance. If you don’t want to pay for medical treatment yourself, you will be required to purchase private health insurance, however most international companies that employ expatriates sometimes include a private medical cover packages. International schools normally offer only the basic health insurance cover. This basic insurance would not cover such things as maternity costs such as prenatal medical visits and giving birth.

Please find here the overview with some of the Insurance Companies in Bangkok

Medical emergencies in Thailand

In case of any form of medical emergency in Thailand the all important number to remember is 191. Although emergency transportation in Thailand is not as fully developed as overseas countries, larger hospitals in Thailand have mobile intensive care ambulances where you would be able to receive immediate treatment, these units are well equipped and staffed by highly trained staff who are used to dealing with emergencies. You will rarely see an ambulance shooting through the streets of Thai cities.

Pharmacies & Medication In Thailand

Pharmacies and medications are widely available throughout Thailand, there is no such thing as a medical prescription provided by your local doctor. Most of the standard common used medicines Antibiotics, Anti depressants etc available without prescriptions. There are no obstacle in obtaining what you need, I have used these local Pharmacies several times and the staff are very courteous and are fully qualified to sell and recommend medicines. 

Most of the time they will perform only as a salesperson, this is fine if you know the medication that you require, otherwise it may be advisable to visit your local hospital pharmacy who will charge a slightly higher rate, but you have the sound advise if required.

Hospitals in General

The quality of healthcare in the local government hospitals is generally good, however as the hospitals cater to a large amount of people you can almost expect long waits. Foreigners have to pay normal charges and the benefits of the local schemes are not available to them. The main advantages that the local government hospitals offer is very low healthcare compared to the private hospitals. you would most likely be admitted to a local ward if you are not willing to pay the extra for a room.

Private hospitals are state of the art and almost look like some hotel lobbies. They are the best equipped and of these more than 300 are located throughout Thailand. Many of them will be in the Capital Bangkok and other popular tourist destinations, other major provinces will have a least one private hospital.

Moving on to more specialist areas such as dermatology clinics, cosmetic plastic surgery clinics as well as medical and wellness spas they are widely available all over the country.

Many of the Thai doctors and surgeons practicing in private sectors today have won numerous awards for their works. Also many of the doctors have earned international qualifications from many western countries mainly US and UK. More than 500 doctors practicing in Thai hospitals and clinics are American Board Certified.

I have total faith in the medical system in Thailand and many friends have visited Thailand for all of the above reasons.  International patients here in Thailand will find English speaking practitioners, dentists and surgeons are generally available in private and specialist clinics. 

Two hospitals that are renowned for experience with expatriates are BUMRUNGRAD (Sukhumvit road) and BANGKOK HOSPITAL . Both of them cater to foreign patients and have all the necessary technical equipment and expertise to ensure you will be looked after. 

I have know many people who have used the hospitals for basic treatments to more serious treatment and they both come highly recommend, not to say that the other hospitals offer the professional medical assistance and treatment when required.

Please find here the overview with the Hospitals in Bangkok