More high-class hospitals to cater for tourists

The number of healthcare travellers to Malaysia has increased by seven-fold, from 56,000 in 2000 to 392,956, last year.

Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said that the total revenue has also increased from RM32.6 million in 2001 to RM380 million last year.

“These figures were just limited to 35 participating hospitals,” he told reporters after opening the Golden Horses Health Sanctuary New Health Screening and Preventive Medicine Centre at Seri Kembangan, here, today.

The RM30 million health centre comprising 15 clinics is equipped with the state-of-the-art technology to provide better medical treatment to patients.

Among the clinics available at the centre are Preventive Clinic, Heart and Dietetic clinic, Metabolic Syndrome, Obesity clinic and Internal MedicinePhysician clinic.

Liow also said with a better coordinated and focused marketing plan, his ministry would be able to hoist health tourism to greater heights and capture a bigger share of the Asian healthcare travel market which is estimated to grow from US$2.5 billion (RM7.57 billion) in 2006 to US$4.4 billion (RM13.33billion) next year.

In fact, he said the National Key Economic Area (NKEA) has projected that the healthcare industry can generate revenue of RM9.67 billion with over 5,300 new jobs created by 2020.

“The NKEA lab also recommended an additional 1,900 beds to be added to caterfor the increase expected,” Liow said. Thus, Liow said his ministry had created the Malaysia Healthcare TravelCouncil (MTHC) in 2009 to spearhead the country’s efforts in promoting Malaysia as the preferred destination for healthcare tourism, leveraging on the regional marketing that has been done by Thailand and Singapore.

Liow added that his ministry was also working with various stakeholders to promote the 35 participating hospitals, including providing ambulatory care centres and dental centres.

“We also encourage more healthcare facilities to seek quality healthcare accreditation, both domestic and international,” he said adding that 24 private hospitals have achieved Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) accreditation and seven private healthcare facilities have Joint-Commission International (JCI) accreditation.

— Bernama