Islands Hospital to diversify services aiming at medical tourism

Expected to commence operations in 2023, the Islands District Medical Complex, also known as the Islands Hospital, will aim to provide dual services. It will function as a public hospital while simultaneously offering private medical services for tourists, said Wong Cheng Po, a member of the working group preparing for the launch of the Islands Hospital, yesterday at a press conference organized by the group to unveil the institution that will manage the facility.
The dual operating model means the medical facility will be the first of its kind designed to provide medical tourism services, Wong added.
In response to an inquiry from the Times on the topic, Lei Chin Ion, coordinator of the same working group, explained that the hospital will operate under two different systems, the second being tourist-oriented.
“The main principle is to serve the population and provide a quality medical service to all people in Macau but, besides that, we want to extend that service and be included in the regional cooperation projects such as the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and be able to attract patients from both the GBA as well as from abroad, namely from other Southeast Asian countries,” Lei said.
He added, “of course, in this case, the medical services provided to these tourists need to be paid for. This will benefit the hospital a lot, as well as the development of the health industry in Macau [as a location for medical tourism],” he concluded, adding that, at the start of operations (in 2023), the hospital will focus first on providing services to people in Macau and will only expand into medical tourism after those services are established.
Wong had also said previously that the idea of providing public and private medical services simultaneously would also provide “citizens with more options for medical treatment, as well as contribute to financing public medical expenses.”
The same official also noted that one purpose of having the new hospital managed by Peking Union Medical College Hospital is so that Macau can make use of such “branding” to attract tourists, namely those from the GBA who are familiar with the reputation of the long-standing Beijing medical institution.
Hospital to reduce the
need for outsourcing
Wong also noted that the Islands Hospital is also seen as a solution for the current situation where there is a lack of certain medical specialties within Macau’s health system.
The official said that once the hospital is in full operation it will promote major advances in the development of the local medical industry, improving the level of specialized health care and “reducing the inconvenience of [local patients] having to travel abroad for medical treatment.”
This applies also to those who seek medical care abroad through the special “patient forwarding system” administered by the Health Bureau, used in cases where the local system cannot provide an effective response to the medical needs of a patient.
Another contribution expected from the new hospital is that it will provide training opportunities for Macau’s health professionals both locally and in the main Beijing branch, offering experienced teachers and training facilities.

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