It is Visit Malaysia 2007 and private hospitals here are recording high occupancy rates.
Unlike hotels that normally only see a surge in occupancy during holidays and festive periods, most private hospitals seem to be operating at optimal capacity daily over the last few months.
A Lam Wah Ee Hospital spokesman said the hospital saw a 20% increase in foreign patients in February and March compared to the same period last year.
The hospital receives about 4,000 foreign patients per month.
“About 80% of our foreign patients are Indonesians. They are usually accompanied by family members who rent rooms nearby,” said the spokesman.
She added that Penang was a popular medical destination due to its proximity to Indonesia and also its reputation for providing quality and affordable treatment here.
According to Island Hospital CEO Dr Chan Kok Ewe, the hospital only accepted a maximum occupancy rate of 70% to ensure quality care.
“We have 172 'functional beds' but we never utilise all of them unless there is an emer-gency,” he said, adding that bet- ween 30% and 35% of their patients were foreigners.
Island Hospital sees more than 1,000 patients per month.
“Most of our foreign patients are from Medan, Indonesia. They make up about 30% of our outpatients,” he said.
“Those who are warded for treatment make up about 10% of our patients.”
A check with several other private hospitals also showed a high occupancy rate.
Meanwhile, several local patients who sought treatment at private hospitals claimed that they had to wait longer for their turns due to the large number of patients.
Grandmother S.E. Leong, 78, who under-went eye surgery last month, said she waited nearly five hours to get a bed at a private hospital.
“The admission counter staff kept telling me to be patient as there were many others waiting for beds.”
Another patient with gastrointestinal problem said he was put on the waiting list for several days before the hospital informed him there was an available bed.
Source : STAR
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