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Health Emergencies for Expats in Thailand

Submitted: August 2014

In an emergency, you must call an emergency number or go straight to a hospital. If you are unable to speak Thai, the English-speaking helpline would be the Tourist Police. To contact the Tourist Police, call 1155.

Otherwise, the phone numbers in relation to health emergencies in Thailand are:

  • Ambulance and Rescue: 1554
  • Medical Emergency Call: 1669

Alternatively, you can call a private ambulance service. These tend to be run by hospitals, so you might wish to enquire the applicable emergency number and procedures with your local hospital.

 

Emergency system – overview

Thailand does not have a full-fledged emergency system for now.

The biggest problem is that ambulances may get stuck in traffic jams. To add fuel to the fire, Thai drivers are not necessarily used to letting ambulances through. As a result, it may take longer for an ambulance to reach the scene than in Western metropolitan areas.

If you can reasonably do it, you might therefore wish to get to the hospital for yourself. In addition, having a hospital nearby may be something to consider when looking for accommodation in Thailand.

 

Pharmacies during night time

It can be tricky to come across an open pharmacy after 9.00 PM in Thailand. If something urgent comes during night time, you should consider going straight to the hospital.

 

Cost of emergency treatment

Healthcare is not free in Thailand, and this includes emergency treatment. Upfront payment at the hospital may be required if you are unable to provide any insurance details. Hospital exemptions may apply if you genuine cannot afford the charges, but your condition will need to be really extremely acute.

This is why you should carry your insurance details with you at all times. On a way out, you never know if you are going to have a serious accident, with hospital fees just around the corner.

 

Insurers and emergencies

As the emergency response system in Thailand is still not all the most efficient, you might wish to check if your insurer has a deal with a medical assistance company. If yes, you should find out about the procedures to follow in case of an emergency.

 

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We value input from our readers. If you spot an error on this page or have any suggestions, please let us know.

 

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