The Thai Frontline Physician Confederation (TFPC) voiced disappointment on Wednesday at the Public Health Ministry's response to demands that it tackle problems faced by medical professionals including doctors.
The union said while the ministry acknowledged problems ranging from excessive workloads to personnel shortages and underpaid staff, it stopped short of saying how it would address the issues.
The union said it had tried to bring the problems to the attention of ministry executives, only to be told they were not in a position to offer higher pay or positions to doctors.
It hoped the new public health minister would look into the problems and solve them so medical professionals could do their jobs with less pressure.
Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, public health deputy permanent secretary, said on Wednesday the ministry has been working to fix problems facing medical professionals. He said the ministry's plan focused on four areas: payment, welfare, career paths and workload. The ministry had to work with agencies to push these areas ahead.
Issues such as the shortage of doctors and doctor training would be discussed with the Medical Council of Thailand, while the Civil Service Commission and the ministry will discuss recruitment and retirement issues, including a special employment scheme. On workload, he said the ministry would talk with the National Health Security Office, which is responsible for the universal healthcare coverage scheme.
Expanded medical and health services under the UHC scheme have resulted in more patients, putting an extra workload on doctors and other medical personnel. The Public Health Ministry is the main service provider of the UHC, and it cannot deny people services, said Dr Taweesin. On Tuesday, public health permanent secretary Dr Opas Karnkawinpong admitted medical personnel shortages have led to staff being overworked at some hospitals.