Public Health Ministry Admits Doctors Face Huge Workload

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BANGKOK, June 7 (TNA) – The Public Health Ministry admitted doctors at nine hospitals under its administration experienced excessive workload at nine hospitals where they have to work 64 hours per week.

Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health, Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin and Dr. Pimpet Sukumalpaiboon, Director of the Collaborative Project to Increase Production of Rural Doctor (CPIRD) conceded that the public health ministry faces the shortage of doctors despite the attempt to produce more doctors to work in the ministry’s system.

Each year, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation produces 3,000 doctors a year and the Public Health Ministry produces about 1,000 doctors a year.

After graduation, they will allocated to state agencies such as the Ministry of Defence and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, so there are only about 2,000 doctors left to work with the Public Health Ministry and only 1,850 doctors in 2022 alone. It contradicts the increased burden particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Taweesin said.

Currently, 24,649 doctors work for the Public Health Ministry with the ratio of one doctor per 2,000 patients much higher than England with the ratio of three doctors per 1,000 patients. Both countries have similar public health system, he said.

He said nine hospitals under administration of the public health ministry experienced workload. Doctors have to work 64 hours a week, much higher than the standard at 40 hours a week.

To address the doctor shortage, the ministry plans to produce 3,300 doctors a year and will increase allowance and welfare, create career path and reduce workload to encourage more newly graduated doctors to work in the Public Health Ministry system.

The ministry may recruit more doctors graduated from private universities and overseas to be the ministry’s employees and later give them the civil servant status.

He denied a report that 900 doctors resigned in 2022, saying that from 2013-2022, about 455 doctors resigned each year on average excluding about 150-200 doctors retiring annually. (TNA)