District offices overwhelmed as bent clinics shut
The National Health Security Office (NHSO) has urged patients using the 30 baht universal healthcare services whose clinics have been closed down for corruption not to panic after thousands flocked to district offices last week to transfer to other hospitals.
"These affected patients can use any NHSO-affiliated clinics and hospitals. Those clinics [involved in corruption] may be closed but not their patients' rights to enjoy the 30-baht scheme," Sakchai Kanjanawattana, secretary-general of the NHSO, told the media on Saturday.
The NHSO was forced to go before the media yesterday after thousands of patients were reported to have turned up at 50 district offices in Bangkok during the week seeking transfer to other hospitals.
The Health Ministry last week closed 82 clinics for making fraudulent financial claims for services that patients had never received.
The NHSO, which operates the universal coverage healthcare scheme covering 70% of the population, signed contracts with health clinics to provide care for members in 2010 at a cost of around 250 million baht per year.
It is reported that one million patients in Bangkok were registered with the 82 clinics which have now closed.
Dr Sakchai confirmed that those patients who need ongoing treatment, such as kidney dialysis, have already been contacted by the NHSO about how to maintain uninterrupted care.
He encouraged everyone else to check the locations of NHSO-registered health facilities at https://reghosp.nhso.go.th/hospital_search or use the 1330 NHSO hotline and @ucbkk and @nhso Line accounts.