Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Health Ministry To Aggressively Tap Into Health Tourism

The Health Ministry will come up with a master plan to intensify promotion of health tourism in the country.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he would discuss the matter soon with the Tourism Ministry and Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) in order to draw up a proper framework and guideline for the industry.

"We want to promote the industry for economic reason as we see it has so much potential that should be properly tapped. We expect the industry to continue to grow," he told reporters, here, today.

Liow said last year alone, the industry had brought in some 370,000 foreign patients, generating about RM300 million in revenue for the country.

The industry recorded a growth of about 30 per cent annually.

The minister said Malaysia had the competitive edge compared with the neighbouring countries in terms of price and services provided.

Among other things, he said, the master plan would include corporate social responsibility (CSR) for private hospitals involved in medical tourism.

"This is crucial as the government does not want the private sector to just focus on reaping profits from the foreigners at the expense of healthcare services for the people," he said.

Earlier, Liow presented the MS ISO 9001:2000 certification by Sirim QAS International to Tung Shin Hospital here.

He said that up to last April, 65 out of the 130 government hospitals nationwide had been accorded accreditation by MSQH, while another 66 were ISO-certified.

As for private hospitals, he said 18 had been MSQH-accredited while another 18 were ISO-certified.

"I hope more private hospitals, particularly those involved in health tourism, would work for the accreditation and ISO status or go a step further to acquire the world-renowned, international JCI accreditation," he said.

To date, three private hospitals -- Penang Adventist Hospital, Prince Court Medical Centre and International Specialist Eye Centre in Kuala Lumpur -- have gained the JCI accreditation.

Source : Bernama
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