Private hospitals welcome border reopening
10 Mar 2022
Private hospitals have welcomed the reopening of Malaysia’s international borders on April 1 as it will revitalise the country’s medical tourism sector.
Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly reduced the number of medical tourists the last two years, particularly from neighbouring countries.
“Patients from the region who frequently seek treatment in Malaysia have been requesting options to get back into our private hospitals to recommence treatment or seek new therapies particularly in Penang, Melaka and the Klang Valley.
“Our treatment cost is one of the cheapest in the region. Hence, private hospitals saw an increase of medical tourists in 2019 to about 1.22 million.
“We have doubled the number of medical tourists since 2011 as we are able to provide world class treatment at affordable prices compared to other Asian countries,” he said in a statement today.
Dr Kuljit said medical tourism has enhanced the level of private medical care in Malaysia, and industry players recently achieved a collaborative understanding with the government to treat public patients at a negotiated cost.
“This has greatly benefitted the citizens who cannot afford private treatment when there is a shortage of capacity in public hospitals.
“However, this programme is ongoing and is well-regulated and controlled by the Health Ministry,” he said.
Dr Kuljit assured that private hospitals will strictly adhere to all standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the Health Ministry to stem any rise in Covid-19 transmissions due to medical tourists.
Unvaccinated medical tourists, he said, will also be subjected to mandatory quarantine.
Dr Kuljit also hoped for the participation of private hospitals with the government to continue managing Covid-19 cases during the endemic phase.
This cooperation, he said, should include various levels, from vaccination to treating full-paying Covid-19 patients, as it will ease the burden of the public service.
“In addition to the government’s support, we hope the insurance industry will also step in to further assist patients with Covid-19.
“The approval of antivirals for Covid-19 should also be extended to private hospitals as there is a huge number of private patients who seek care for Covid-19, including for Long Covid care,” he added.