'New normal' for Bangkok's virus-hit hospitals

'New normal' for Bangkok's virus-hit hospitals

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has introduced new services in BMA-run hospitals to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang said the BMA was launching "The New Normal Health Service" to ease overcrowding in BMA-run hospitals, a factor that had led to the virus spreading among patients and health workers.

Four million out-patients and 100,000 in-patients use the BMA's hospitals each year.

Mr Aswin said the new normal services were telemedicine — to allow remote communication and diagnosis between doctors and patients — plus blood testing at home and delivering prescription medicines at drug stores near patients' homes or even with the help of postal couriers.

"The new normal service aims to add convenience for the elderly, people with chronic diseases and the handicapped to reduce physical contact and visits to overcrowded hospitals," said Mr Aswin.     

The preventive services will be ready in nine hospitals: Klang Hospital, Taksin Hospital, Charoenkrung Pracharak Hospital, Luang Phor Taweesak Chutinataro Uthit Hospital, Wet Karun Rat Hospital, Lat Krabang Hospital, Ratpipat Hospital, Sirindhorn Hospital and Bang Khun Thian Geriatric Hospital.

Mr Aswin said the new normal service, part of the BMA's 20-year plan to upgrade the city's public health service, would start on March 1.

The BMA is introducing the new services with the the help of the National Health Security Office, the state body that oversees the country's welfare budget.  

NHSO secretary-general Sakchai Kanjanawatana said the office aimed to use BMA hospitals to test the new services.

The NHSO has also developed its system to allow for the cost of conducting blood tests away from clinics and hospitals, telemedicine and drug charges in drug stores and mail. More than 30 chemists have so far joined the project.

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