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Japanese check in to Thai hospitals

Bangkok Post

Japanese check in to Thai hospitals

7 June 2007

(TNA) - More Japanese nationals will receive medical treatment at Thailand’s private hospitals in 2007, according to a new survey conducted by Kasikorn Research Centre.

The research group, an arm of the leading Kasikorn (formerly Thai Farmers) Bank, said this means there is an urgent need to produce more Thai doctors and medical personnel as well as training them to function professionally in Japanese language and culture.

There are positive signs that Thai private-run hospitals will benefit from the recently signed Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) which is expected to be implemented beginning in October.

Thailand needs to be better prepared to cope with an increased flow of Japanese patients who have come to the kingdom for top-notch treatment at private hospitals and related medical facilities.

Producing more doctors to cater to rising numbers of both local and foreign patients is an urgent requirement for the Thai medical-educational system, the report said.

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on April 3 signed the JTEPA in Tokyo, which was aimed at boosting bilateral trade.

Japan is Thailand’s biggest foreign investor and an important export market for Thai products with trade between the two countries valued at Bt1.65 trillion (US$44.1 billion) during calendar year 2006.

The survey cited statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce Department of Export Promotion that 185,616 Japanese patients were admitted at hospitals here last year, accounting for 14.9 per cent of all foreign patients who received treatment in 2006.

In 2007, it is estimated that about 200,000 Japanese patients will receive treatment at Thailand’s private medical institutions while the total number of foreign patients undertaking treatment would increase to as many as 1.54 million.

Positive factors which help boost the number of Japanese patients being treated in private Thai hospitals are, according to the survey, lower medical fees than in other countries, along with spas and Thai traditional medical treatments which could be used in conjunction with the patients clinical regimen.