Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Visiting the Clinic - Bangkok

What to do when you are sick in Thailand? Visit a doctor, get an MC (medical certificate), stay at home? Well sort of. The very first strange thing is that, no need MC to show your employer. In Thailand, every employee is entitled to x amount of sick leave. Some companies however will require you to show your MC if you happen to fall sick on a Friday or Monday. So if you don't feel like going to work, just call in sick with a silly excuse. The privilege of a Thai employee.

The doctors. Now, generally, it is quite expensive to visit the doc. Again depends on where you go. In Singapore, we just visit our family clinic and we pay about SGD$30. Here you could too, visit your typical local clinic but be prescribed with Thai medical instructions, explained in Thai and get yourself overdose for taking the wrong number of tablets from misunderstanding.

We each pay what is know as social insurance or something, automatically deducted from our salary. So we each have this social insurance paper slip that we can use to visit the doctor for free or subsidized. Some companies have more employee benefits and enroll their employees with big name insurances like AIA for medical benefits. The difference between the two if you use them when you go to a reputable hospital or clinic is that, you get double standard medication. The medication that you get when using your normal social insurance benefits are of lower grades. Use the AIA one which covers a higher budget and you get the better medication. So, what if you don’t use both and pay by yourself? You get the best. I did that (actually it was because I did not have my insurance thingy with me).

I went to Param 9 Hospital, yes… a hospital. The moment I registered and they realized I was a sick foreigner in their so strange land, they gave me the utmost of treatment. I was ushered here and there, gently and politely guided, smiles and smiles, the way Thailand should really be. I was so happy I could even forget I was sick.

The doctor spoke in English and best of all the medication had English directions written on them. Yeah, pay more get better treatment, in all it cost THB$1300 (SGD$52) but hey, it was worth it.

Normally I did complain heaps when dealing with related customer services in this land and such. But this was one of those times that I was really impressed in the way I was handled. So if you are sick and don’t want to further aggravate your situation, go to the big name hospitals to find their GP. Your are going to be glad.

Look, even the antibiotic they gave was special.. size XL.

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