Expatriates living in Thailand and individuals who are considering relocating to the region should carefully research the medical provision available, according to the UK newspaper, The Telegraph.
In a comprehensive guide to healthcare in Thailand, the newspaper warns that medical services throughout the country have been impacted by the recent political unrest and that the future uncertainty of economic provisions acts as a real risk to the quality of care available.
The newspaper article reveals that although expatriates throughout Thailand have seen a significant improvement in the healthcare provisions over the past twenty years, the care on offer is not always of a standard that is comparable to that available in the west. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK shares this opinion: It warns: “Ordinary hospitals and clinics in Thailand are not always up to UK standards. This applies particularly to the coastal islands and many mainland districts outside Bangkok, where hospitals and clinics are not equipped to deal with major trauma. Many hospitals require guarantee of payment for the hospital bills before they will begin treatment.”
If the current level of investment in health services is anything to go by it appears that the situation may not improve in the near future. The government in Thailand invests just 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the care system, less than half that invested by countries in Western Europe.
The advice given to expatriates in Thailand is to take out adequate medical insurance and to fully research their policy. Benefits in the country vary according to the insurance provider and it is crucial that your insurance policy covers all your needs. The newspaper also quotes medical insurer Alliance, who advise expats to take cash with them to the hospital in the event of an emergency:
“Have your medical insurance documents with you – either that or another from of payment.
“In the case of hospital admission you will be required to pay upfront for the treatments. It appears that money plays an even greater part than normal,” says the company.
“In most European countries, problems are normally avoided because the patients have mandatory medical insurance and hospitals can be confident about getting paid.”