Impact field hospital now closed

Impact field hospital now closed

Public Health Ministry officials clear equipment after Busarakam Hospital was closed. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Public Health Ministry officials clear equipment after Busarakam Hospital was closed. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Busarakam Hospital at Impact Muang Thong Thani exhibition centre in Nonthaburi province is now officially closed.

The Public Health Ministry announced the closure of the 3,700-bed field hospital last Friday after seeing off the last batch of Covid-19 patients on Sept 20.

At the closing ceremony, Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for public health, handed out certificates to 24 agencies that took part in the 130-day operation.

Dr Kiattiphum expressed thanks to frontline medical staff and volunteers for their dedication in looking after patients and to members of the public who provided logistical support to the medics and patients.

"They made the mission complete," he said.

He said all healthcare personnel had returned to their workplaces and the ministry would distribute medical equipment to hospitals nationwide based on their needs.

During the 130-day operation, the facility cared for 20,436 patients from in and around Bangkok.

It took seven days to build what was one of the country's largest field hospitals designed to enable actual hospitals to focus on those needing intensive care as Thailand was grappling with the spread of the Delta variant.

The hospital was fitted with medical equipment including respirators, X-ray equipment, high-flow oxygen therapy machines and a standardised laboratory. There were negative pressure rooms and life support machines on standby.

When it opened on May 14, the facility had 1,100 beds. Its capacity was increased to 2,200 beds on May 28. In early July, another 1,500 beds were added and were quickly taken up.

Due to a shortage of ICU beds, the hospital added 17 beds for critical patients on Aug 4, and 32 beds for moderate-to-critical patients on Sept 1. During this period, the number of patients requiring high-flow nasal oxygen rose to 200 a day.

However, starting in September, the number of patients fell with five to six patients arriving at the hospital each day, from a peak of between 300 and 400 a day when the Delta variant started spreading.

Dr Kiattiphum also said bed occupancy fell after home and community isolation centres were introduced.

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