Health in Phuket

 Your Insurance

You never think about it... but...

Before you go on holiday, check with your insurer, health insurance company, etc...

Here in Thailand, your insurance can intervene directly but there may be delays and when you find yourself in an unfortunate situation, it is not easy to have all your head, to have the reflexes to contact your insurance, and to have the patience to wait for your answer. In addition to that, the time difference means that in many cases, you will have to wait until you get back to the office hours in your home country... a situation I have already experienced several times with acquaintances who needed immediate care.

If you can advance the requested amount with a Visa card, no problem, you will be taken care of. It is then up to you to discuss the terms of reimbursement with your insurer. 

You will see later in the article (Do you have enough to pay?") that even with a young Thai girl, we find ourselves in the same situation.

 Care in general

Getting treatment in Phuket is not a problem, at least not in terms of facilities, drugs, care.

This article is not intended to favour one establishment over another, but to inform you about some prices and the price differences that may exist between two locations.

In private hospitals, you can't pay? well, go elsewhere... it's not more complicated. Yes, you read it right. If you are unable to prove that you can pay, you will be politely asked to seek treatment elsewhere... we will come back to this later.

Planning is always better


What could be more natural than to worry about your health before making a long trip to spend a holiday in a country where you normally go to have fun and not to see doctors.... But that's it, it sometimes happens that a health problem appears very quickly and unexpectedly.

Buses and minibuses, shopping malls, banks are highly air-conditioned places where it is generally quite cold and therefore, one is never safe from catching a good "death".

At the beach, you can quickly catch sunstroke without noticing it, or be stung by a jellyfish.

On some beaches in Phuket, there are sometimes risks of walking on rocks or corals that are very "sharp". If this happens to you, you should know that you should never leave a small cut, however small, without care and say to yourself, it will be fine, we'll see about it tomorrow...

Never leave a small wound lying around. You can go to the nearest pharmacy or clinic (it's even better) to clean the wound and disinfect.

On the road, not to mention serious accidents, a fall on a motorcycle or bicycle can happen quickly even when you are more careful. A scratched leg or elbow can hurt a lot, but you shouldn't leave it lying around either.

Thailand is a very dusty country during the dry season, and very humid during the monsoon season (frequently 90% humidity): the risks of infection are high even for a mild cut.

Whatever the problem, the care provided in Phuket is of high quality and there is no fear of having it on this side.

On your side, however, it is up to you to know before you leave what your coverage is in the event of simple health costs or even hospitalization.

Finally, once these concerns have been more or less resolved, the hospital where you were treated will issue you a detailed invoice in English.

Prevention before departure


Thailand does not require any vaccination. Nevertheless, given the tropical climate it is strongly recommended to take some precautions before embarking on this long journey.

The main vaccinations recommended...?

  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Tetanus

We could add the rabies vaccine and the yellow fever vaccine.
There is currently no vaccine against malaria or dengue fever.

 For minor superficial problems

Rapid Care


There are many pharmacies on the island of Phuket. Some are well stocked with drugs.

Be wary, however, sometimes for an equivalent drug that you find in Europ, here, it may be more heavily dosed.

Many pharmacies (especially in Patong) are open very late at night, or even all night....
Drug prices vary by pharmacy.
If the staff do not speak English (or very rarely), the pharmacist generally speaks English quite well.

On the other hand, don't expect too much from people who are highly skilled in prescribing... in Europe you can ask your pharmacist for advice without going to see your doctor... here, this is only rarely the case. Very often it is employees who are behind the counter and their advice is rather strange or even worrying. I am not saying that it is general, but personally I have been asking for a product to treat a problem several times and I have been offered something that has nothing to do with it. So mistrust. 

The solution, if you are offered a product whose characteristics you do not know and if you are equipped with 4G, go immediately to the net to get information on the product in question... you will quickly be determined.

Also at the price level... a very recent example: a box of Vitamin type tablets sold 390THB in traditional pharmacy... we find the same product for 260THB in the pharmacy part of a Superscheap...   

Neighbourhood medical practices


Neighbourhood medical offices, called here: "clinic": they are usually open in the late afternoon around 5pm. The doctors you find there work during the day in hospitals and return to their doctor's office after their shift. They are generally equipped and able to perform X-rays, blood tests, urinalysis or minor benign surgeries. The cost is very reasonable.

The nurses at the reception do not necessarily speak English, but the doctor will be able to explain the nature of your illness, if you understand English.
If your health problem requires more intensive care, you are advised to go to a hospital.



 Public Hospitals

 VACHIRA HOSPITAL

Opened in 1906, it is located in the heart of Phuket-Ville.

This hospital is the largest public hospital in Phuket with 503 beds and more than 70 doctors.

Adress:353 Yaowarat Road, Phuket Town
Tél: +66 (0) 76 361 234. 1669 

 The Website...

 PATONG HOSPITAL

Opened in 1986

This hospital, located in Patong itself, has a capacity of 120 beds

Emergencies are very often attacked at night by tourists involved in accidents or drunken fights,
Adress:  57, chemin de Sai Nam Yen, Patong Beach

Tél: +66 (0) 76 342 633-4. 076 - Emergency number: 340 444 ou 1669

 The Website

 THALANG HOSPITAL

Thalang Hospital is a government-run facility based in Thalang.

Adress: 358 Moo 1 Thepkasattri Road, Thalang
Tél: +66 (0) 76 311 111

The Website

 Private Hospitals

 BANGKOK HOSPITAL PHUKET


It is the "5 stars of the city" hospital. By far the most expensive, the most chic, this establishment is impressive both for its structure and the number of staff.

All nurses speak English.

All types of treatment and emergency services are provided. This hospital has 200 beds and can treat up to 1000 patients per day, with 165 doctors and more than 250 nurses.

Very high level in cardiology and excellent level in other specialties.

Adress: 2/1 Hongyok Road, Phuket Town

Tél: +66 (0) 76 254 425.   Emergency number: 1719

The Website

 PHUKET INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

la santé à phuket


In the same style as Bangkok Hospital, less chic and less expensive, although it seems that prices have increased significantly in recent years.

All services are also provided here.

Adress: 44 Chalermprakiat Ror 9, chemin

Tél: +66 (0) 76 249 400 Emergency number 076 210 935

WEBSITE

 MISSION HOSPITAL PHUKET

Established on the island since 1940, the Mission Hospital is operated as a Christian and non-profit organization. Specialized areas include pediatrics, obstetrics, otorhinoma, throat disorders, eye disorders, physical therapy and most types of general surgery. They can also organise health checks and laboratory tests. The cost of accommodation for one night between 600 and 2,100 baht. Much cheaper than the two previous hospitals.

Adress: 4/1 Thepkasattri Road, Ratsada
Tél: +66 (0) 76 237 220-6.Emergency number: 076 237 227

The Website

 At the Dentist's

There too, there are many opportunities.
Dental practices are easy to find,
often by "word of mouth" which remains the best advertising!

You have enough money to pay...? we treat you... otherwise...

In general, whatever the facility you visit, you will receive excellent care.

If you have all the insurance and you will be reimbursed on your return to Europe, so the question of price no longer arises, you should nevertheless know that you will be obliged to advance the costs, unless you have insurance with an agreement with the hospital to which you are going. It's up to you to know.

If not, your situation may look like this:

Example: At Bangkok Hospital in Phuket, my daughter-in-law (who is Thai) had an appendicitis attack. Very quickly, after auscultation, the surgeon's diagnosis was clear, sharp and precise: immediate emergency operation.

I was given a quote in the next few minutes on a corner of the table, and was asked to pay 80% of the sum, which I did without hesitation. If I had not been able to advance the funds the girl would not have been treated and would have had to be transferred to Vachira Hospital...? in the 85,000THB 

This may be shocking, but that's the way it is. This situation could be considered as "no assistance to anyone in danger" but you should also know that this concept does not exist in Thailand. You can't guarantee your payment, go elsewhere!

Care at what cost ?


I'm not going to give you an endless list or comparative tables between the different establishments here, first because I don't know these rates in detail and then it would be very boring.
However, I have a few small examples that will serve as a basis for you to know how much you will have to advance in the event of an intervention.

SIMPLE CONSULTATION:

Bangkok Hospital invoice opposite (click on the image to enlarge)
Doctors, Drugs, Package: total = 1,190 Bahts ( 33 €).
In this case the costs are not huge, there is no problem to advance the sum.
For such a sum, you will not be asked to pay in advance.
The invoice in English will be used to reimburse you later.
No invoice is issued in French.... don't dream!
In a small local clinic, specify that you want the invoice in English.


  • HOSPITALIZATION:


Specifying prices for hospitalizations is not necessarily easy and obvious.
The price of the room and care is what it is, but it all depends on the nature of the intervention, or the treatment.
Nevertheless, having four very specific examples, I give them here as they are: (the dates are starting to be a little old, but the prices are still comparable, or even rising, since...)


Example 1
Hospitalization at the International Hospital in Phuket without surgery:
A young Frenchman suffering from a food infection and extreme fever.
3 days of hospitalization, treatment, analyses etc: invoice amount: about 65,000 baht
The person concerned (on holiday in Phuket) with insurance (Mondial Assistance) did not have to advance the expenses.
The hospital resolving the problem directly with the insurance company.
Period: Oct 2012


Example 2
Hospitalization at Bangkok Hospital in Phuket with surgery (appendicitis):
All preoperative analyses, surgical intervention with epidural anaesthesia, three days of hospitalization:
Total Invoice: 76,000 Bahts (1,900€)
Period: 2010

Example 3
Hospitalization at Bangkok Hospital in Phuket without surgery:
Hospitalization 6 or 7 days: dengue fever treatment
No surgery, daily blood test, treatment, meals, room
Total Invoice: 47,000 baht (1,250€)
Period: 2009

Example 4
Price for an intervention in two different institutions:
3-day hospitalization for knee arthroscopy: (uncommon procedure certainly, but the example is probably valid for other procedures)
At the time, I had taken out a Thai insurance policy which only reimbursed part of the costs, so I had quotes drawn up "like in the garage"...

Quotation in hand:
Bangkok Hospital: 280,000 Bahts (7,000€)
Hospital Mission: 60,000 Bahts (1,400€)
The difference seems quite incredible for an identical procedure, but I assure you of the accuracy.
I finally chose to do this procedure at Mission Hospital: the surgeon was excellent.

The 3 days spent in the clinic were absolutely satisfactory with a smiling and friendly staff. Excellent "European" meals ordered, and the care provided by the nurses was absolutely satisfactory.

The cases mentioned above are relatively simple cases with two of them having fairly simple surgical procedures, hence the costs are still quite reasonable and affordable.

Example 5 (most recent)
Hospitalization at Bangkok Hospital to treat Chickungunya fever
It should be noted that for this fever (as well as Dengue Type1 there is no treatment). Paracetamol and daily blood tests, that's all.
No surgery, 3 nights in a normal room, meals...
Total invoice: 77,000THB
A completely exaggerated price, at the scandalous limit. Information taken by telephone: cost of the room for one night:
If you have insurance: >12,000THB/night
If you do not have insurance: > 4,500THB/night 
Not easy to understand...
------------------

The same is not true for a much more specialized and heavy operation: for example, myocardial infarction: heart surgery and hospitalization, the costs can go up to more than 800,000 Bahts (25,000€) depending on the degree of severity.

A heart attack can happen to anyone at any age.

It should be noted that as far as the cardiac part is concerned, Bangkok Hospital is at the forefront.

So it is important to know before you leave, if such a tile happens to you, how you will be able to advance expenses... and it is not necessarily obvious when you have a big problem and you find yourself in the emergency room to solve this kind of administrative and financial problem if you have not thought of it at the beginning.

The prices indicated are the prices charged at Bangkok Hospital, therefore the highest.

If, for cost reasons, you prefer to choose a cheaper establishment, it is entirely your right, however,
despite the price, for any heart problem, I recommend Bangkok Hospital without hesitation.

The heart...

A heart attack can happen to anyone at any age.

It should be noted that as far as the cardiac part is concerned, Bangkok Hospital is at the forefront.

It is therefore important to know before your departure, if such a tile arrives, how you will be able to advance the costs if you are not covered by a specific insurance.

It is not necessarily obvious when you have a big problem and find yourself in the emergency room to solve this kind of administrative and financial problem if you haven't thought about it in the first place.

Certainly, it is not by being in the emergency room with a big problem that you will solve this problem.

It is better to plan this well in advance.

The prices indicated are the prices charged at Bangkok Hospital, therefore the highest but comparable to the International Hospital.
If for a question of cost, you prefer to choose a cheaper establishment, it is quite your right, however, despite the price, for any heart problem, I recommend Bangkok Hospital without hesitation.

 Some pictures at Bangkok Hospital in Phuket