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Cabinet approves B5bn for ‘Andaman International Health Center’

Cabinet approves B5bn for ‘Andaman International Health Center’

PHUKET: The Cabinet has approved more than B5.1 billion to build the ‘Andaman International Health Center’ on the 141-rai site in Mai Khao, at the northern end of Phuket.

Friday 14 October 2022, 10:21AM


The Cabinet approved the funds, precisely B5,116,262,532 in total, at its meeting on Tuesday (Oct 11), reported the official minutes of the Cabinet meeting.

The bulk of the B5.1bn will be spent on building a brand-new international hospital, the Songklanagarind Hospital Phuket, for B4,762,262,532.

A further B212.5 million will be spent on the ‘International Health and Science College’, marked as a “building renovation” project.

The final B141.5mn will be spent creating the ‘International Wellness Center’ and the ‘Digital Dental Center Songklanagarind, also marked as a “building renovation” project.

The funds are to be allocated over five years, as follows:
2023 ‒  B1,291,049,290
2024 ‒  B1,656,586,967
2025 ‒  B1,476,662,940
2026 ‒  B498,152,458
2027 ‒  B193,810,877

The decision follows the Cabinet approving the project in principle on Sept 19, 2020, amid the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The decision at that time “prompted the Prince of Songkla University to proceed with the preparation of the Andaman International Health Center project details such as work plans, financial plans, operational plans, etc,”  the Cabinet noted.

The official objectives of the project were given as: 

  1. to be a place for producing personnel in health sciences such as doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, medical technicians; alternative medicine, etc;
  2. to be a research facility for academic development to solve public health problems in the Andaman provinces; 
  3. to reduce costs for people in the Andaman province group in dealing with care, examination and treatment of complex diseases;
  4. to build confidence among people and foreigners [sic]; and 
  5. to generate income from health tourism.

The official budget request proposal was submitted by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) and the Prince of Songkla University Phuket Campus.

The Cabinet marked that the project was approved following the Ministry of Public Health signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Prince of Songkla University, which operates Songklanagarind Hospital in Hat Yai, Songkhla province.

Songklanagarind Hospital is a university teaching hospital affiliated to the Faculty of Medicine of Prince of Songkla University in Hat Yai.

Ixina Thailand

It is not to be confused with Songkhla Hospital, also in Hat Yai, which is operated by the Ministry of Public Health.

The Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), Prof Dr Anek Laothamatas, has praised the approval for the project, touting it as a medical teaching centre providing cost-effective services to people living in the Andaman provinces.

“The goal is to produce health science personnel such as doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, medical technicians, to develop and provide alternative medicine, and be a place for academic research in medicine and public health,” he said.

“The hospital will be a 300-bed tertiary and specialised medical facility focusing on precision medical services, telemedicine and treating complex diseases,” Dr Anek added.

“There is a referral system between the hospitals in the Andaman area, together capable of providing services to at least 12,500 tertiary complex patients per year and in terms of outpatients not less than 300,000 people per year, which can help reduce the cost [of treatment] for people in the area,” he said.

“This will build confidence among people and tourists in coming to travel to the Andaman [region] and to Thailand,” he added.

“It will also help generate income from health tourism. It will also offer premium international tourist services and become the first modern dental center in the South, in addition to taking care of the health of Thai people,” he continued.

“The project will be able to generate direct income from medical treatment for foreigners of not less than B1.6bn a year and not less than B300mn a year from dental services,” Dr Anek added.

In total, the project is expected to boost the value of tourism in the Andaman area with an increase of approximately B62 billion a year, Dr Anek said.

MHESI Permanent Secretary Sirirurg Songsivilai, M.D., Ph.D, who also serves as Secretary-General of National Research Council of Thailand, explained the project as a way of producing enough medical and public health personnel to meet the needs of the Andaman area. 

“This will close the gap in the medical treatment problems of the Andaman area in the past, as well as promote the service industry and tourism for both Thai and foreign tourists,” he said.

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