The opening of a new hospital on Phuket this year may also speed the churnover rate of nurses at government hospitals.
The Deputy Director of Vachira Hospital Phuket, Dr Sirichai Silpa-Ar-Cha, told Phuketwan that the large public hospital in Phuket City employed 300 nurses, and as many as 200 of them might move on in the space of 12 months.
''Singapore hospitals are attracting more Thai nurses and pharmacists with good salaries and conditions,'' Dr Sirichai said. ''We struggle to compete. The ones who go to Singapore usually have good English, too.''
Phuket's three government hospitals struggle to compete against private hospitals but the private hospitals also have problems with the loss of nurses. Bangkok Hospital Phuket recently advertised, as they do quite regularly, for 40 nurses and 30 nursing aides.
It's an issue Thailandwide, with the need to increase the nurses who qualify annually to 5000. The free trade and work agreement that is due to be applied across the region from 2015 may accentuate the problem still further.
''Nurses are never unemployed,'' Dr Sirichai said.