Thai 'Sky Doctors' set to take flight nationwide


Aerial emergency medical units, known as “Sky Doctors”, will be set up in every health district nationwide within 100 days to serve tourists for the upcoming New Year holidays, Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said.

The new units were among the key points discussed at a meeting of the Emergency Medical Committee, which Dr Cholnan chairs, today.

Cholnan said that rapid access or specialised medical care in emergency situations is key to saving lives. Many areas of the country face challenges in accessing emergency care due to their remote locations or traffic congestion in urban areas. The Sky Doctors will use helicopters to transport medical teams to these areas, which will improve the chances of survival for patients in need of emergency care.

Sky Doctors already operate in some regions of the northern and southern parts of the country.

The new policy mandates that they be expanded to all 13 health districts nationwide within 100 days.

Dr Atchariya Pangma, Secretary-General of the National Institute for Emergency Medicine, said teams of Sky Doctors have been operating since 2009. The institute, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and partner networks, provides emergency medical services via aircraft to increase the chances of survival for emergency patients.

From 2021 to 2023, Sky Doctors performed 401 operations. They have airlifted 398 patients for emergency treatment and delivered three organs. There are currently nine approved medical air ambulance units, located in three health districts. The nationwide expansion of the service is expected to be completed in December.