By PATCHAREE LUENGUTHAI
Pongpat Patnavanich, chairman of Mahachai Group’s executive committee, said it was a big challenge to provide the same service on weekends as on weekdays.
It took a year of preparations for the hospital to launch this service, starting from changing the mindsets of personnel and patients and the management system. “We chose Mahachai Hospital 1 as a pilot project for a specialised medical centre before expanding to the hospital’s subsidiaries. We aim to be a role model for other public and private hospitals to open weekend speciality care services for the sake of patients at large,” Pongpat said.
He said that though there was no research about the “weekend effect” on patient outcomes in Thailand, it could not be ignored, especially with questions about reduced availability of staff and services on weekends.
In addition to limited resources, many physicians and specialists also tended not to work on weekends. This is the reason many patients avoid getting themselves admitted on weekends except in emergency cases, he said. “Thanks to the great dedication and inspiration of the specialists and staff at the hospital and its subsidiaries, Mahachai Weekend Hospital will ensure that patients on weekends will get the same clinical standards and prices as on weekdays.”
Pongpat noted that the Weekend Hospital concept was in line with the Public Health Ministry’s policy to arrange 12 health zones as a way to reform Thailand’s health mechanisms to reduce disparities and provide people with greater access to better medical services.
The Weekend Hospital will enable patients to access quality medical care so that they do not have to rush to hospitals in Bangkok.
Mahachai Hospital started operations in 1989. It was the first privately owned general hospital in Samut Sakhon province.
The group has been expanding its services with the establishment of Mahachai Maeklong Hospital, Machai Hospital 2 in Om Noi, Kathum Baen, Petcharat Hospital in Phetchaburi province, and Mahachai Hospital 3, which has been initiated as a centre particularly for patients under the Social Security Fund.
In addition, Thai Medical 88 was created as a central distributor to provide medical equipment, supplies and medicines for the group’s hospitals.
Mahachai Hospital has received US Joint Commission International Accreditation among others.
Pongpat said a 24-hour cardiac centre was among the renowned medical services it provides thanks to highly experienced physicians and well-trained staff. Since the opening, the hospital has treated more than 1,000 patients with cardiac catheterisation and about 100 heart-surgery patients.
Listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in July 1996, Mahachai Group has enjoyed continued growth.
Last year, the group reported Bt172 million in consolidated net profit, a big jump over Bt120.9 million in 2014. The hospital has 500-600 outpatients a day.
Pongpat said the group was now considering an investment plan to develop a flagship hospital in Bangkok, but it had not set any specific time frame or chosen the location.