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16/07/2009 - Phuket to become a medical training centre  16/07/2009 - Phuket to become a medical training centre

The Thailand Public Health Ministry plans to develop Phuket into a ''medical knowledge centre” where medical students will receive specialist training.

The move is part of a five year plan to double the revenue of the medical service industry to 400 billion baht by 2014 and to further establish Thailand as a world class medical and spa destination.

Dr Wiwat Keetamanoj, deputy director of the Phuket Public Health Office, said 'Phuket provides a wide variety of medical services, including elective and cosmetic surgery and dental care with three international hospitals, local health offices and some 200 private clinics. These and supporting infrastructure will allow Phuket to become a medical knowledge centre in the near future.'

Wichien Juthamongkol, president of the Phuket Spa Association, said the five year plan will involve upgrades to the Thai spa, massage and health service industries. and the total revenue from Thai spa and massage should account for 80 billion baht of the total target of 400 billion baht in 2014.

So far, there are 200 spa operators in Phuket but only 70 have been licensed by the ministry. The association plans to increase the number of certified spas to 100 by the end of the five year plan.  In addition, the association will promote more hotel spas. At present only 50 of Phuket&rsquos 400 hotels offer spa services.

In June this year The Phuket Medical Science Centre opened in Thalang. The centre is dedicated to preventing the spread of Legionnaires’ disease, chikungunya, food poisoning and a number of other preventable medical conditions.

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