Materia Medica Malaysiana

September 10, 2007

Danger of Malaysia losing out in medical tourism

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:55 am

NST: GEORGE TOWN: Lack of co-ordination between the agencies involved could derail efforts to promote Penang as a medical tourism hub.
Penang Adventist Hospital chief executive officer and president Datuk Teddric John Mohr said while there had been an increase in the number of medical tourists, the hospital faced a problem as the Road Transport Department did not allow hospital vans to pick up tourists from the airport.
Mohr, who is also vice-president of the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia, said taxi drivers at the airport were reluctant to ferry sick tourists.
The country was losing medical tourists to Singapore, Thailand, India and Hong Kong, he added.
He said there had been “a few” occasions when Penang Adventist Hospital vans were stopped and booked by RTD officers, although he understood the officers were just doing their job.
“I understand various quarters are working hard to find a solution.
“We really need to move a little faster in changing the rules, otherwise we could lose these medical tourists over-night.”
Mohr said it was not only imperative to provide first-class medicine but also provide a first-rate response.
The reason foreign medical tourists were attracted to Penang was because the state provided medical services of international quality, he added.
“We have to stay ahead. Other countries are providing courtesy vans for medical tourists at the airport — at no charge. If we do not compete, we will lose out to these countries,” he said, adding that his hospital had been providing the airport pick-up service for 10 years.
Mohr said medical tourists to Penang could bring in a revenue of up to RM400 million a year. If these patients spent RM200 million on medical bills, they may spend an equal amount on hotels, food and shopping.
Mohr felt medical tourism could help hospitals buy the latest equipment which they would otherwise not be able to afford.
Penang Adventist Hospital has some 66,000 medical tourists spending RM49 million there each year.

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