GEORGE TOWN: Island Hospital has officially opened its new Peel Wing, adding 14 operating theatres and 300 beds.
Besides making it the state's first 600-bed private hospital, the 12-storey block is also equipped with the latest infrastructure for advanced and comprehensive healthcare services.
This includes personalised health screening, comprehensive care in oncological therapies, advanced minimally-invasive general and cardiothoracic surgery, robotic-assisted surgeries, AI-guided rehabilitation and renal transplantation.
There is also Nuclear Medicine imaging with the Siemens Biograph mCT PET/CT scanner, and radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery using the Varian TrueBeam system with HyperArc. Also notable is the Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy centre's DAVID Solution, an AI-guided physical and cardiac rehabilitation system.
Dentistry also debuts at the Peel Wing, joining the Dialysis, Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, Health Screening, Internal Medicine, Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy, Ophthalmology, Plastic Surgery and Clinical Oncology departments which have been relocated over from the hospital's original building, now called the Macalister Wing.
CEO Mark Wee said the opening marks the metamorphosis of Island Hospital into Island Medical City, a large public-private partnership between the state government and the hospital to help realise a shared vision of making Penang the 'Medical City of Asia'.
Future phases include a further block dubbed the Peirce Wing that will take overall capacity up to 1,000 beds, as well as a hotel catering to the medical tourism market.
"It is not widely known, but in 2019, one out of every five Indonesian healthcare travellers to Malaysia were treated at Island Hospital.
"At the state-level post-pandemic, numbers have bounced back and we now account for over half of all healthcare travellers to Penang," Wee added in the ceremony on Friday morning (Nov 11).
In his launching address, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said such projects create a multitude of opportunities for locals, particularly in upskilling healthcare workers and support personnel, while bringing immense spill-over benefits to the economy.
"Penang commands 61% of the country's entire medical tourism revenue. According to data provided by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), this amounts to RM567mil in direct healthcare spending alone.
"In 2023, it is also estimated that healthcare travellers' spending will exceed RM2bil from upstream and downstream activities in the hospitality, services, retail and transport sectors," Chow said.
Chow later joined Wee, former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy, Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce executive advisor Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping and the hospital's directors in the launching gimmick, which was then followed by a lion dance performance