Hospitals continue to spend on medical equipment

GENERALLY, hospitals continue to spend on medical equipment – to replace or upgrade old machines – as well as to expand capacity, albeit more cautiously.

Sunway Medical Centre is increasing its capacity, launching new services, and upgrading and replacing many of its old and soon-to-be-outdated equipment.

“There has been an uptrend in demand for higher-end medical equipment from our clinicians in the past three years,” chief operating officer Ch’ng Lin Ling told StarBiz.

“We were spending an average RM20mil a year on medical equipment in the last three years to equip our new service areas, to replace/upgrade old equipment and to have state-of-the-art technologies required by our clinicians,” she said.

Ch’ng said the annual spending had been on the uptrend, partly because of increasing costs.

For example, a basic ultrasound machine which cost some RM55,000 three or four years ago now costs two to three times more as more features are included.

KPJ Healthcare Bhd senior group general manager Amiruddin Satar said historically, the group spent about RM40mil every year on medical equipment and devices for its 19 hospitals.

“As one of the leading hospital groups in the country, we must upgrade and replace our equipment to meet patients’ demands.

“Nevertheless, there could be a reduction in spending this year as we have to be more prudent and prioritise equipment purchases due to the economic slowdown,” he added.

Island Hospital Penang director Datuk Dr Chan Kok Ewe said the hospital would invest in medical equipment only on a need-to basis – and not want – in the current challenging environment.

“If the machines are well-maintained, then they would be replaced only in about 10 years when spare parts are unavailable. We need to tighten our belts and be more cost-effective,” he said.

However, Dr Chan said Island Hospital would consider adding a new equipment if it had more functions and could improve the hospital’s brand value. For latest Bursa Malaysia indices, charts and other information click here Latest business news from AP-Wire

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