Updated on 28 December 2012
Mr KhunVeerasak Kritsanapraphan, deputy managing director, Greenline Synergy, Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS)
Thailand's healthcare system has come a long way, we have a population of almost 70 million people and 99.5 percent of the population is covered by Universal Healthcare Coverage. While this system, implemented in 2002, provides some real advantages, the country still faces a number of healthcare challenges.
Thailand, like many other parts of Asia, is characterized by a rapidly growing, ageing population which is living an increasingly urban and sedentary lifestyle. By 2050, almost 30 percent of the Thai population is expected to be 60 years and older, meaning more people with increasingly complex conditions will require medical attention.
At the same time, Thai people are becoming increasingly affluent. This is leading to an increased demand for medical care, as well as higher expectations for its quality and availability. While government funded medical care is readily available, the level-of-care and accessibility varies across the country. The quality of healthcare provided in cities like Bangkok is generally good, while more remote areas are facing a shortage of clinical resources.
Thailand's medical system has performed more than seven million operations and while almost all of them were covered by Universal Healthcare Coverage, the public system still has to manage seven million operations. This means there can be significant waiting times for people to receive necessary care. As Thailand's population grows, and ages, the demand on already stretched resources will continue.
There is no doubt that Thailand is confronting big healthcare challenges. The question is how do we tackle them to ensure that people across the country receive affordable, high quality care?