Norway to link with Thai hospitals

The Norwegian government plans to establish links with Thai hospitals to provide healthcare services for more than 7,000 Norwegian patients who annually seek quality treatment abroad.
     Thai trade representative Dr. Kantathi Suphamongkhon, who is leading a 40-member Thai trade delegation to Norway as part of a two-week tour to boost trade and investment with trading partners in Scandinavia, revealed that a senior Norwegian official had proposed to establish a cooperation with Thai hospitals to serve the needs of the Norwegian patients.
     “Norway has a high-quality public healthcare system, but patients who need non-emergency treatment, including orthopaedic surgery, have to wait a long time,” The Nation newspaper quoted Dr. Kantathi’s saying.
     As a result the doctor shortage in Norway, the country’s National Insurance Administration will pay for Norwegian citizens who have medical treatment overseas to avoid long waiting lists at home.
     “Over 7,000 (Norwegian) patients seek healthcare abroad every year,” Dr. Kantathi added.
     Norwegian patients are currently entitled to medical coverage when they seek treatment in other EU countries and Turkey. But according to the Thai trade representative, many other European countries are facing doctor shortages as well.
     Dr. Kantathi also spoke to Tone Skogen, Norway’s secretary of trade, and Jane Johnsen, secretary for fisheries, both of whom encouraged Thailand to move forward with free-trade negotiations with the European Free Trade Association. The ministers said Thailand has great opportunities for cooperation with the trade association in the areas of aquaculture and deep-sea fishing.
     European Free Trade Association, which comprises Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, will hold free-trade talks with Thailand soon.
     Dr. Kantathi said Norway should invest in the Thai stock market through the government’s Petroleum Fund.
     Thailand has also agreed to work with Norway in planning events to mark the centenary celebration of Norway’s independence next year.

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