Dr Chuchart Nijwattana, who has been appointed Director of the still-under-construction Chalong Hospital, explained that the opening for the hospital being scheduled for April is unrelated to the ongoing construction of the Chalong Underpass, which is also planned to be completed by next April. (See story here.)
“Chalong Hospital will open in April next year in accordance with our plan to alleviate the pressure of major government hospitals being overload with patients.
“It has nothing to do with the underpass construction. We are moving head in accordance with our own plan,” he said.
The first priority is to have the Accident & Emergency Centre at the hospital fully operational, Dr Chuchart said.
“Next will be Outpatient Department, which will also open in April. Then the Inpatient Department with beds for 30 patients on the third floor will be added in June 2019,” he added.
In order to expedite the hospital opening to treat patients, the medical equipment needed will be added as each section of the hospital opens, Dr Chuchart explained.
“The obstacle is that we applied for the funds for the medical equipment under the budget for 2019, but we were not able to get approval for it, and so we must apply again under the budget for 2020,” he said.
“We don’t have a direct budget of our own yet. Currently all efforts for the Chalong Hospital are coming via support from Vachira Phuket Hospital*,” he added.
“In addition to the medical equipment, we will need a staff of 85, who will be ready and working in each section in the hospital by October 2019,” Dr Chuchart said.
“Further, our plan is to expand the hospital to have 150 inpatient beds within five years,” he noted.
Dr Chuchart rated the opening of the Chalong Hopsital as vital for people in the southern end of the island needing medical treatment.
“Especially patients from accidents,” he said.
Meanwhile, the opening of Chalong Hospital come April will help alleviate the workload on staff at Vachira Hospital in Phuket Town, which earlier this year started refusing admitting non-critical patients unless they have been referred by a medical specialist due to a bed shortage.
In response to the policy change, Dr Chuchart told The Phuket News in August that the Chalong Health Centre should be the first port of call for people living in the Chalong area until the adjacent Chalong Hospital is completed early next year. (See story here.)
* Vachira Phuket Hospital, in Phuket Town, is the largest government hospital on the island.