Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr Opas Karnkawinpong has expressed concern over a significant shortage of newly graduated doctors in the medical sector. He emphasized the need for measures to address low retention rates, improve welfare benefits and reduce workloads.
According to the permanent secretary, demand for public health services has risen significantly over the past year, highlighting an urgent need for additional medical staff. The pandemic further strained public health services, requiring officials to step up their efforts.
In response, Caretaker Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has approved 45,000 positions within state public health units to help alleviate the responsibilities of doctors and nurses. However, several budget-related issues remain unresolved.
Dr Opas highlighted the need for multiple measures to retain medical professionals throughout the public health system, including policies related to compensation, welfare benefits, professional development and workload management.
The permanent secretary noted that some 2,000 contract doctors, mostly recent medical graduates, leave their positions every year – with around 10% quitting to pursue further education. Nevertheless, he confirmed that all professionals seeking employment within the public health system have been recruited by the health department.