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Health ministry dismisses state hospital financial rumours

Apr 05. 2017
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PUBLIC HEALTH Minister Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn has dismissed widely circulated posts on social media that claim state hospitals are suffering from major cash flow problems.

“Information in the social-media posts is incomplete,” he said yesterday. “The problems are far from being as serious as what have appeared on social media.” 

Piyasakol convened a press conference to dismiss the rumours that went viral on social media earlier this week.

The federation of regional and general hospitals posted on its Facebook page that 18 out of 1,000 public hospitals were in the red in the last quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, and they lacked liquidity because of inadequate financial support from the government.

The post reached a huge audience after a senior member of the Medical Council shared it, with a message: “Toon, Please Help”. Bodyslam frontman Athiwara “Toon” Khongmalai has lately joined charity runs that have raised massive donations for two hospitals. 

“Just five state hospitals have had cash-flow problems and their liquidity crunch is not as serious as social posts have claimed. I can tell you this because we have updated information in hand,” Piyasakol said. “We have checked the financial figures of state hospitals every month.” 

According to Piyasakol, Phra Nangklao, Phayao, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phichit and Somdej Phraphutthaloetla hospitals have liquidity issues. Their deficits range from Bt3.6 million to Bt59.59 million. 

Piyasakol’s information is different from what has been circulated on social media. The social posts have claimed Phra Nangklao Hospital suffered from the Bt354-million deficit. 

“You can’t look at just what bills hospitals have to pay. You have to take into account its assets too. For example, after it bought Bt2 billion worth of medicine, it is Bt2 billion in debt but medicine can be sold,” Piyasakol said. 

He said his ministry had been working hard to reduce the financial problems of state hospitals. He pointed out that Phra Nangklao Hospital’s net working capital had risen during the past five years. 

Phra Nangklao Hospital director Dr Virul Pornpatkul told the press conference that although his hospital operated in the red, its income had increased. 

“No matter what our financial figures are, we will continue to serve the people,” he said. 

Piyasakol said his ministry would not allow any hospital to close down because of financial problems. 

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