Chua: Provide statistics or face the consequences
MALACCA: A few private hospitals, which are promoting health tourism, are still not providing statistics on their foreign patients.
Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek said they had until the end of the year to do so or face the consequences.
He said only 20 of the 35 hospitals promoting health tourism since 1988 had been submitting regular returns to the ministry through the Association of Private Hospitals.
We need the figures and statistics on foreign patients at our hospitals to strategize and plan our activities, Chua said at the 10th anniversary of Mahkota Medical Centre here.
He said a study by the government in 2002 estimated that the foreign patient market, worth about RM90mil in 2002, grew by about 30% annually.
This year our foreign patient revenue is estimated to be around RM154mil, with a large percentage coming from Asean, with Indonesia topping the list, he said.
He added that cardiology topped the list of health services demanded by the foreign patients followed by general surgery, cardio thoracic and orthopaedic surgery.
Replying to a question, Dr Chua said the influx of foreign patients should not lead to a rise in healthcare costs for the locals.
He said the Middle Eastern countries had been identified as a big market for Malaysias tourism drive.
He said medical tourism contributed 30% of the revenue of Mahkota Medical Centre.