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Life and death are closely aligned on a sign at Phuket's Patong Hospital

More Brits Dying In Thailand: Total Deaths Jump By 31 Percent

Thursday, July 18, 2013
PHUKET: British officials have faced a startling rise in the number of deaths and hospitalisations of British citizens in Thailand, newly-released figures show.

Deaths jumped from 296 in 2011-2012 to 389 in the year ending April 1 this year. Hospitalisations rose from 217 to 285 in the same period, the official statistics show.

The increase in both is a sharp rise of 31 percent.

The figures will cause concern because all other statistics remained stable. There were 36 drug arrests, 188 total arrests, and nine rapes, down from 13 the previous year.

The media release accompanying the new figures refers specifically to Thailand as follows: ''Thailand has seen a significant increase in hospitalisations (31pc) and deaths (31pc), despite fewer cases worldwide.

''Road traffic accidents, many involving young people on mopeds, and an ageing expat population are both factors attributed to the increase in cases.''

A total of 870,164 British citizens visited Thailand in the 12 months on which the compilation is based, with the number of British residents estimated at 50,000.

Here's the media release:

Official figures released today as part of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's annual British Behavior Abroad Report 2013 showed that consular staff gave assistance to more than 19,000 Brits in need in 2012/13.

Overall total assistance figures showed a slight drop of 3pc but some countries saw big increases in more serious types of case.

Every year consular staff around the world support thousands of British nationals who find themselves in difficulties. In 2012/13 staff in some countries, including Spain and the US, continued to deal with thousands of cases, while a number of countries including India, United Arab Emirates and the Philippines saw an increase in serious cases such as arrests and hospitalisations -demonstrating the importance for travellers to respect local laws and customs and take out comprehensive travel insurance.

Overall arrests of Brits abroad for drug offences dropped to their lowest level for four years, with a decrease of 34pc since 2009/10 and general arrests and detentions showed a 21pc drop in the same period.

However, in the 2012/13 period 3599 British people were hospitalised and there were over 6000 deaths of British people abroad.

Spain, the country most popular with British tourists and expatriates, has seen a significant decrease in arrests, detentions and hospitalisation cases - mainly due to local initiatives involving our staff, police and hospital authorities.

However, reported rape and sexual assault cases increased by 10pc compared to 2011/12. The three countries in which the largest number of cases were reported were Spain, Turkey and Greece - destinations popular with young Brits for their busy nightlife.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister Mark Simmonds, said: ''I am proud that our staff continue to offer vital support to thousands of British travellers and residents around the world.

''Each case can represent great distress for the individuals concerned and for their families.

''I encourage all British travellers to do everything they can to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip by taking some basic steps to prepare themselves before departure, including taking out comprehensive travel insurance and researching their destination.

''I am deeply concerned to see an increase in the number of reported rape and sexual assault cases involving British people.

''The priority for our consular staff is the safety and wellbeing of British travellers and we will continue to work, including with other Governments and tour operators, to help to prevent further cases and provide all possible support for victims.

''This support includes explaining local procedures, accompanying people to the police station, helping them deal with local authorities and medical staff and contacting friends and family at home if that is wanted.

A number of other key findings are highlighted in the report, including: Some countries including Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Australia and India have seen an increase in hospitalisations.

Posts have reported a mix of cases but many have involved older expats or tourists with pre-existing medical conditions getting into difficulty and requiring treatment after arriving in the country

Thailand has seen a significant increase in hospitalisations (31pc) and deaths (31pc), despite fewer cases worldwide.

Road traffic accidents, many involving young people on mopeds, and an ageing expat population are both factors attributed to the increase in cases.

Alcohol continues to be a major factor in cases involving young people visiting the Balearics, Turkey and Greek islands.

Although drug arrests have gone down, drugs remain a problem for many countries, including Jamaica, France and Portugal.

Despite the significant drop in general arrest and detention cases, countries including Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates have seen an increase in cases.


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