Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi
ALTHOUGH Penang is the second smallest state in the country, it has done so well that it took the lead in Malaysia’s health tourism market.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the foreign patients’ arrival to Penang was 382,164 last year, and the huge number of healthcare travellers contributed RM550,274,088 in revenue.
“The revenue accounted for 42.3% of the health tourism market in Malaysia.
“Health tourism is a very important sector for Penang. We are ‘number one’ in terms of health tourism,” Lim said in his speech before opening the new Adventist Heart Centre at Penang Adventist Hospital in Burma Road on April 2.
Lim said the healthcare sector has seen robust growth over the past decade.
“It is important for hospitals in Penang to upgrade themselves with the latest technologies to serve the community better,” he said.
Lim congratulated the hospital for its newly expanded heart centre.
“The Penang Adventist Hospital also conducts charitable treatment for needy patients with heart problems and I hope this can be escalated,” Lim added.
Penang Adventist Hospital chief executive officer Ronald Koh said the new 8,700 sq ft heart centre was more than double the size of the earlier facility.
“It will be able to accommodate the growing number of patients and procedures.
“We will also be introducing the new auto-registration kiosk for patients with scheduled appointments to reduce waiting time.
“We are now waiting for the issuance of operating licence by the Health Ministry for the new heart centre. We hope to get it this month,” he said.
He added that the hospital had disbursed some RM9.7 million to help 754 needy heart patients for the past 30 years.
“Besides the Patient Heart Fund, other funds such as the Dr J. Earl Gardner Fund, Cancer Fund, Welfare Fund and General Fund have also been set up by the hospital to aid needy patients with other medical ailments.
“Collectively, Penang Adventist Hospital disbursed a total of RM2.7 million to assist needy patients last year,” Koh said.
Koh said that the newly expanded heart centre would further affirm their support towards Malaysia’s medical tourism industry where Penang is the key contributor.
“We hope to further strengthen Penang’s position as a medical city of choice,” he added.
Also present was Penang Adventist Hospital Board of Trustees chairman Pastor Somchai Chuenjit.