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72 Hours of Emergency Treatment in All Hospitals in Thailand Under New UCEP Plan

CityNews – The government has announced a new Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (UCEP) plan which demands compulsory emergency healthcare for up to 72 hours in any hospital in Thailand, both private and state.

The new plan went into effect on April 1st, and now enables all patients who require emergency medical care and assistance to be able to access it wherever they are in the country at whichever hospital is closest to them for a period of up to 72 hours and no cost.

As the new UCEP plan includes private hospitals, people in Thailand will have much faster and easier access to key emergency medical assistance without having to travel to a government hospital which sometimes may be further away and risk the life of the patient due to longer travel times.

The Ministry of Health has added that there are six main categories that the UCEP plan falls under, but noted that it is ulitmately down to the doctors in charge to judge each situation independently.

  1. Unconsciousness, patient not breathing
  2. Suffocation, severe breathing problems
  3. Passing out, seizures and high fevers
  4. Severe chest pain
  5. Loss of limb use, stroke, common seizures
  6. Other symptoms that risk heart attacks, inability to breathe, and brain damage

People are advised to contact 1669 as standard when a medical emergency occurs and the operators and paramedics at the scene, or doctors at the nearest hospital will be able to determine the severity of the problem and make an informed decision whether the patient falls under the UCEP categories or not.

If they do not, they will be transferred to their registered state hospital if safe and possible to do so.

Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsattayatorn said that there maybe some teething problems to begin with and they are also using the first stages of the programme to evaluate how to best deal with a possible conflict of opinion between patients and their family members and the doctors who make the decision to treat or to transfer the patient.

The Thai General Insurance Association will support individual payments for patients who fall under the UCEP plan.

The government has agreed on set prices for common diagnosis and treatments such as 2,400 baht for surgery per hour, 1,500 baht for ultrasound, 8,000 baht for an MRI scan, 29,000 baht for artificial heart valves, and 80,000 for artificial lungs.

If after the 72 hours the patient still requires medical assistance, they will be transported to their registered government hospital for further care if safe to do so. Patients will also have the choice to stay at the first hospital at their own expense.

For more information regarding the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients plan, contact the UCEP Coordination Centre on 028 721 669 or call the National Health Security Office (NHSO) on 1330.