Private hospitals see pick-up in 2022

This is as the govt shifts some non Covid patients to private hospitals to reduce the burden and expand the treatment capacity

by NURUL SUHAIDI / pic by BERNAMA

LOCAL private hospitals are seeing gradual improvement in its occupancy rate after almost two years of having to scale down their operations due to Covid-19.

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said the private hospital nationwide is slowly getting back to the normal occupancy rate pre-pandemic and is increasing the number of visitors including those who seek treatment for the virus.

“We have seen the improvement in terms of the patients returning as most restrictions are lifted and many business sectors have resumed their operation in full,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

“This also comes after the government shifted some non Covid-19 patients from government hospitals and quarantine centres to private hospitals to reduce the burden and expand the treatment capacity.

“It has given us the opportunity to serve and bring back the number of patients to the hospital after a period of slowdown operation,” he said.

According to him, during the initial phase, apart from patients with urgent cases that require emergency treatment, there were fewer admissions and visitors to private hospitals due to the fear of Covid-19.

Dr Kuljit noted that as the business situation was improving, private hospitals also see more visitors and patients to conduct normal medical check-up routine from where they left.

Usually, the medical cost will be the biggest deterrent for anyone hoping to be treated in the private health facility but Dr Kuljit said cost was not really an issue given that private hospitals are willing to provide discounts if needed.

As for patients previously treated at government facilities, he said they were being charged at a discounted rate and some costs were borne by the government for them.

Dr Kuljit said private hospitals will continue to look after patients nationwide while still offering best services for the public.

He said private hospitals have enhanced the healthcare system during the Covid-19 and navigated together with the government in easing patients.

“Last year, when the Covid-19 treatment was only available at public hospitals and reached its peak, we mobilised our healthcare workers and helped supply equipment such as ventilators and beds to help keep up with the demand.”

In that view, he reiterated the commitment of the private healthcare sector to join forces in facilitating the country’s healthcare system upon returning to normalcy.

Dr Kuljit said another reason that delayed a stronger comeback for private hospitals is the lack of admissions of medical tourists to Malaysia.

“We hope the return of medical tourists, once the international border has fully reopened soon, will further boost the economy of the private hospital sector.”

He added that not only it will contribute an extra income to the private hospitals but also bring benefits to the government as well as other travel industries such as airlines, accommodation, hospitality services and others.

Malaysia’s medical tourism has been resilient among South-East Asia and consistently ranked as one of the top destinations among international healthcare travellers.

“Medical tourists who come to Malaysia are satisfied with the level of the treatment they have received and look forward to returning. This is vital to support the overall economy,” he said.

Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) CEO Mohd Daud Mohd Arif previously said that Malaysia has been recognised as the leading global halal hub, possesses a comprehensive halal ecosystem, global reference and trade centre for the mainstream halal industry.

“As an organisation that has been mandated to drive medical tourism, we are working to enhance our healthcare travel industry in the country through close partnership with private hospitals and promoting Malaysia as the best medical tourism destination.

“Selected partner hospitals may offer niche world class services and cultivate them into a system to cater specifically for Muslim medical travellers following the massive global demand for halal medicine and the increasing need for the halal alternatives,” he said.

To date, MHTC has initiated niche branding initiatives such as transforming Malaysia into a fertility hub in Asia, cardiology hub, cancer centre of excellence and aged care destination.