Government okays THB5.11-bn budget for health centre in Phuket to boost medical tourism
The Cabinet has approved a budget of 5.116 billion baht to build the Andaman International Health Centre in Phuket province to boost medical tourism and promote Thailand as a medical hub in the region, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Anek Laothamatas said on Wednesday.
Anek said the ministry had proposed the plan to build the centre which targets generating an additional 62 billion baht revenue for the tourism industry annually from 400,000 Thai and foreign patients each year.
The budget will be used to build a 300-bed tertiary specialised hospital, an international medical centre and a health college to produce specialist-level health professionals, including doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, medical technicians, and alternative medicine professionals.
The college aims to produce up to 110 health professionals per year in fields that are in high demand in the southern region. After graduation, they can either work at the Andaman International Health Centre or at any health facilities in other southern provinces to provide training to local health professionals at up to 1,000 people per year, said Anek.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr Sirirurg Songsivilai, added that the 300-bed hospital would be named Songklanagarind Hospital Phuket and can treat at least 300,000 outpatients per year, plus accepting 100,000 transferred patients from other hospitals in the Andaman area annually who require specialised care.
“The international medical centre will offer premium services for both Thai and foreign medical tourists seeking high-quality care of international standard in diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitation and health promotion,” said Sirirurg. “The centre will also feature the most advanced dentistry centre in the Southern region and is expected to generate income of over 1.6 billion baht per year, with about 300 million baht from dentistry services."
The Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry estimates that the Andaman International Health Centre will help generate 10 per cent, or 62 billion baht, per year additional income for Phuket’s overall tourism industry. The construction is expected to start in 2023 and will take five years to complete.