Thai / English

Deal on medical staff's pay

The Public Health Ministry has reached an agreement on the new method of calculation for medical workers' extra pay. The new method will take effect from April 1.
29 Mar 13
The Nation

"The agreement was made at a meeting on Wednesday," the ministry's permanent secretary, Dr Narong Sahamethapat, said.

Present at the meeting were representatives from government agencies that have operated state hospitals, general hospitals, provincial hospitals, community hospitals, the Thai Nursing Council, the Dental Council, and provincial public-health chiefs, and many more. However, the Rural Doctors Society did not attend.

"We invited the Rural Doctors Society, but nobody came. I've learnt that they plan to talk directly to the vetting committee. I'm sorry that they did not discuss the issue with us because they might not get complete information," Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said yesterday.

At a meeting on Wednesday, there was an agreement to use the pay-for-performance (P4P) and area-based special allowance systems. Presently, the special allowance is granted based on the remoteness of the medical workers' workplace alone.

Dr Kriengsak Watcharanukulkiat, director of Chum Phae Hospital in Khon Kaen and head of the Rural Doctors Foundation, said rural doctors would later petition against the approval. A signature campaign is underway seeking support. He repeated the rural doctors' stance not to talk to the Public Health Ministry leadership.

"We tried to meet with the permanent secretary three times but it never happened, while the minister turned down our request for a meeting. So there is no need to attend any meeting," he added.

Narong said at the meeting on Wednesday, it was agreed that the new payment method would be implemented in two phases, the first phase starting from April 1.

Narong said results of the first phase would be assessed before all stakeholders have worked on the new rate for the second phase. The Rural Doctors Society do not agree with the new method for calculating extra-pay and have tried to block it.

Narong said the Rural Doctors Society had the right to file a complaint with Administrative Court but it should also clarify to other medical workers.

He also explained that area-based special allowances in fact would continue in risky and remote areas. He said P4P would award extra pay to medical workers, regardless of their work zone, based on their responsibility, assignments and special missions, which include preventive work.

Kriengsak called on Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong to heed the rural doctors. He said a threat by the rural doctors to stop working during Songkran was not meant to hold patients hostage, but to simulate a situation when medical care was most needed without personnel available.