In 2009, private hospital business will be prone to falling numbers of domestic and foreign patients due to the adverse factors of the global recession and domestic economic slump. Although the domestic political conflict has eased to a degree, much time is needed to restore foreign patients' confidence toward travel to Thailand.
It is expected that in 2009, large private hospitals that focus on medium and high income patients, as well as foreign patients, will face greater difficulty in marketing than the small to medium private hospitals, as they can shift their services toward more easily accommodating domestic patients receiving health welfare assistance, particularly those using the Thai Universal Health Care and Social Security benefits, totaling around 56.4 million persons. At the same time, some domestic patients who have previously used the medical services of large hospitals will turn to medium-sized private hospitals that charge less.
Therefore, it is necessary that private hospitals that used to have a high proportion of foreign patients turn more to domestic patients to boost their income. Meanwhile, private hospitals should use the interim where patient volume is low to improve their facilities, such as car parks, ward facilities, medical equipment, and development of their personnel to support more patients after the economic crisis has eased.
The fact that many foreign patients still prefer and trust the services of Thai private hospitals is due to the quality treatment they have received and the service of capable medical personnel, as well as lower medical costs than rivals such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
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