Somsak to seek budget from Cabinet for more emergency medical centres

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2024

Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin said on Thursday that he would consult the Cabinet on the lack of sufficient emergency medical service centres around the country, blamed for an average 100,000 deaths outside hospitals each year.

Somsak was speaking to reporters after he chaired the meeting of the national emergency medical services (EMS) committee at the National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM).

Somsak said it was the first time he had chaired the meeting of the EMS committee after being appointed the public health minister in late April.

Somsak said he learned during the meeting that provincial people did not have access to emergency services in time, resulting in very high casualties.

Somsak to seek budget from Cabinet for more emergency medical centres

The minister said only 3,943 out of 7,255 tambon nationwide had emergency medical service centres to respond to urgent cases. The lack of such tambon centres led to about 100,000 deaths each year before the people reached the hospitals.

Somsak said the rate of Thai emergency patients’ deaths was two times higher than those in developed nations.

Patients who got access to EMS within eight minutes had a 92% chance of survival, Somsak said.

During the meeting, Somsak said he was informed that most Thais also lacked knowledge on how to assess the situation as to whether their relatives needed emergency medical services, which often led to the patients failing to receive treatment in time.

Somsak to seek budget from Cabinet for more emergency medical centres

He said there were also not enough EMS personnel to handle emergency cases.

Even worse, the NIEM had not received enough budget for improving EMS services, and local administrations did not receive enough budget to develop their own EMS services, Somsak added.

He said the meeting agreed that the government should step in to ensure equal EMS access nationwide.

At least, there should be automated external defibrillators installed in all tambon and tourist destinations, Somsak said.

He promised to soon raise the EMS shortcomings at a Cabinet meeting to seek a budget for improvement.

He would also propose to the Cabinet the development of a central app for emergency medical services or a national phone number to call for emergency health support.