By THE NATION
The NHSO move affects more than 800,000 people who would no longer be able to use their gold cards to receive treatment at those health centres.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Sudarat said: “This campaign was initiated by the Thaksin Shinawatra administration when I was among the founding members of the Thai Rak Thai Party that won the 2001 national election. Dr Sanguan Nittayaramphong came up with the idea and he and Thaksin eventually came up with the ‘Bt30 Health Care’ scheme, which aimed to provide affordable medical treatment to all people.
“I still remember Thaksin’s words the day he appointed me to spearhead the Bt30 Health Care project 19 years ago. ‘This campaign is hard, but I want to make it a reality to ensure better health for all Thais through affordable healthcare that won’t push them into debt, ultimately reducing the economic disparity in Thai society’,” she added.
“For years this campaign has helped many Thais from fatal illnesses by providing equal access to quality medical services,” she said. “Unfortunately, later governments lacked an understanding of this project which led to failure in management. They have used centralised administration instead of disbursing the budget to local hospitals, resulting in poorer service quality and years of corruption by government officials.”
Sudarat added that the government must quickly eliminate corruption within the healthcare campaign, which had been renamed to gold card scheme, before it puts further burden on more than 800,000 people.
“The NHSO tried to solve the problem by urging affected patients to use services of state hospitals instead, which is irresponsible and shows that they have no contingency plan, as those state hospitals are mostly at full capacity and patients have to wait longer to receive treatment,” she said. “This also puts an extra burden on doctors and nurses who have to take care of more patients than they can handle. It is a problem that needs immediate fixing,” she added.