The complaint was filed by two doctors, including one who works at the hospital.
Dr Chalermpong yesterday explained that the complaint was reported by the Thai-language Facebook page “The Reporters” on Monday. (See post here.)
The post said the complaint was filed with Phuket City Police on Sunday, a fact confirmed to The Phuket News by Phuket City Police Chief Col Teerawat Liamsuwan.
Col Teerawat declined to confirm any other details of the complaint, including the name of the doctors who filed the complaint. He also declined to present to The Phuket News a copy of the complaint.
However, Col Teerawat did volunteer, “This case also has been reported to the National Anti-Corruption Commission [NACC].”
At the press tour yesterday, Dr Chalermpong read out the complaint as posted on The Reporters Facebook page, which said that a doctor at the hospital had already filed a complaint to the Director and Deputy Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital.
“The way they are working risks harm to the public. Also the way are working is inappropriate,” the complaint said.
“The director and deputy director doctor of Vachira Phuket Hospital are not taking appropriate steps to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19,” the complaint read.
The complaint also alleged that the measures being taken at the hospital were more aimed at preserving the careers of certain people at the hospital, not for public safety.
“This risks harm to the public and it is unfair to the people,” the complaint said.
The complaint listed six main points, including that patients suspected of being infected with the virus were not kept in isolation.
“These patients must have a separate room in the ICU at a private hospital. Currently they use shared rooms in various parts of the hospital that uses the same air conditioning as the rest of the hospital,” the complaint read.
The complaint also claimed that staff at the hospital were not adequately protected. “There are no tests to check whether the staff are infected with COVID-19 in order to prevent the spread of the disease at the hospital. This is important in preventing the spread of serious contagious diseases in any community,” it added.
The complaint also called for patients suspected of being infected to be kept at just one hospital, not spread out in many hospitals across Phuket.
The complaint was sent to Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana last week but there had been no response, the complaint noted.
On Monday (Mar 2), a copy of the same complaint was sent to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, and to Ministry of Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr Kanchana Sutthakitparn, the complaint noted.
Dr Chalermpong yesterday told reporters that patients were kept in separate, isolated rooms. He escorted the press to one room in particular, and even opened the door so the press could see the patient inside for themselves.
He also confirmed that one of the doctors who filed the complaint does work at Vachira Phuket Hospital.
He declined to reveal where the other doctor worked.
“Vachira Phuket Hospital is well-equipped for treatment by experts. We have enough rooms. We also have the ability to take care more severe symptoms. Currently, all three hospitals [in Phuket] help each other in receiving PUI [patient under isolation] cases and we are still managing well,” Dr Chalermpong said.
“If the number PUI cases becomes serious at any particular hospital, the patient will be transferred to Vachira Phuket Hospital,” he added.
Dr Chalermpong also assured that staff at the hospital were adequately protected.
“I confirm that we have enough protective equipment for medical stuff through support from the Smart Health Service under Ministry of Health office in Surat Thani province,” he said.
Quarantine areas at Phuket’s main government hospitals will be expanded, Dr Chalermpong added.
“We have plan to expand quarantine wards at the Thalang, Patong and Phuket Provincial Hospital, and at the Phuket Provincial Community Hall, altogether accounting for about 277 beds,” he said.
Dr Chalermpong yesterday specifically declined to answer questions from the press as to whether any persons in Phuket had ever been confirmed as infected with COVID-19.