KUCHING: KPJ Healthcare Bhd is expanding its services in Kuching by building a new specialist hospital to complement its existing facility and cater to rising demand.
President and managing director Datuk Amiruddin Abdul Satar said KPJ Kuching Specialist Hospital had grown rapidly since opening its doors at Tabuan Stutong Commercial Centre 11 years ago.
“Last year it saw a total of 63,486 outpatients and 3,448 inpatients, compared with 44,866 outpatients and 2,185 inpatients in the first year of operation.
“In view of the pressing demand for quality health specialist services, KPJ Healthcare felt that there was a need to build a new hospital in Kuching,” he said during a groundbreaking ceremony at the project site in Jalan Stutong yesterday.
The groundbreaking was performed by Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Amiruddin said the new hospital’s RM130mil first phase would have 150 beds, 24-hour accident and emergency department and specialist services.
He said other services planned for the new hospital include oncology, heart centre, intensive care unit, operating theatres and medical imaging.
He added that the new hospital would contribute towards the growth of medical tourism in Sarawak, based on an increase in the number of KPJ’s health tourism patients.
Kuching Specialist Hospital received 14,775 foreign patients last year, representing 20% of its total patient numbers. Many of its health tourist patients are from Indonesia, the Middle East and east Africa.
Assistant Public Health Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, who represented Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem at the ceremony, said the new hospital would not only offer more medical services to city folk but provide employment opportunities for locals.
“There are many unemployed graduates in para-medical fields, such as lab technicians, nurses and medical assistants. I hope KPJ will consider taking them in and retrain them if necessary,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kuching Specialist Hospital Sdn Bhd chairman Abdol Wahab Baba said construction work on the new building was expected to start in one to two months’ time.
He said the hospital would be built in two phases, with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2017, and would eventually have 300 beds.
“This is a continuation of our existing hospital, which has a limited capacity with 70 beds. The new building will increase our facilities and capacity to meet demand, which is increasing every year,” he said.
He also said KPJ would operate two hospitals upon completion of the new building and was still discussing what services to continue at the existing hospital.
“We will synergise the services at both hospitals. One option is to offer niche services at the existing hospital, such as dialysis,” he said.