Army-run hospitals adding 3,600 beds

Army-run hospitals adding 3,600 beds

Support staff set up a system in an ICU unit at the field hospital located in Bangkok’s 11th Military Circle in Laksi district early this month to tackle a shortage of beds for Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Support staff set up a system in an ICU unit at the field hospital located in Bangkok’s 11th Military Circle in Laksi district early this month to tackle a shortage of beds for Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Field hospitals have been or are being opened at army-run hospitals to care for Covid-19 patients whose number has been steadily rising in recent weeks, said the army.

There are altogether 37 army-run hospitals nationwide, mostly in the provinces. The opening of field hospitals in the main hospitals' premises aimed to tackle the growing number of sufferers as the virus is spreading from Bangkok and its surrounding areas to the provinces. 

Army spokesman Lt Gen Santipong Thammapiya said if and when field hospitals were opened at the 37 hospitals, they would have a combined capacity of 3,600 beds. 

The launch of field hospitals was army chief Narongphan Jitkaewtae's response to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's directive to expand the government's facilities for Covid-19 patients.  

Gen Narongphan has ordered the force's Covid-19 situation administration centre to work with the army's Medical Department and the army regions on the expansion. 

Of the 37 army hospitals, 20 have been operating concurrently as field hospitals; two in Bangkok, seven in Central Plains provinces, four in the Northeast, two in the North and five in the South. They are now treating 1,466 patients. 

Lt Gen Santipong said the field hospitals are able to deliver full-scale medical treatment and services. 

The army-run hospitals are working closely with the provincial public health offices to locate Covid-19 sufferers and bring them in for treatment in a bid to contain virus transmission. 

The medical services are delivered through cooperation between the army's medical teams and local public health personnel. 

The spokesman said the army-run hospitals also are involved in providing regular medical consultation to patients with mild or no symptoms, who are in home isolation in the provinces.

At the same time, army clubs are being converted into centres to house people with Covid-19 pending their transfers to field hospitals or other facilities. The centres offer basic medical attention and help separate them from their families, thereby reducing transmission.

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