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Saturday June 28, 2008

Non-profit hospital for Sandakan

SANDAKAN: Sabahans, particularly those living here, can soon enjoy affordable private healthcare facilities and services when the new Fook Kuin Medical Centre at Jalan Utara is operational by January 2011.

The centre to be built on a 12ha site at a cost of RM105mil will be the first non-profit private hospital in east Malaysia.

Once completed it will have 276 beds including 10 day care beds and six ICU beds, 28 bassinets and 34 dialysis machines, 28 consultation suites and eight labour rooms, operation theatres and CT scanners.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, who was represented by state Health Department director Dr Marzukhi Mohd Isa at the groundbreaking ceremony, said that his ministry received 49 applications throughout the country in the past two years for the establishment of private hospitals and two were from Sabah including Fook Kuin Medical Centre.

Since the implementation of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 and its regulations in 2006, the Health Ministry has licensed 247 private healthcare facilities and hospitals in the country of which nine are located in Sabah, said Liow.

Artist’s impression: A model of the new Fook Kuin Medical Centre that will begin construction soon.

To date, 19 private hospitals had been accredited by the Malaysian Society of Quality in Health (MSQH) and 21 more were awaiting survey or the results of surveys, he said.

The minister noted that among the problems in the applications to establish new private hospitals were the tendency of applicants to use renovated shoplots and the failure to engage medical planners to design the private hospitals.

The Ministry also found that many applicants were unable to provide adequate nursing staff or skilled manpower in specific disciplines such as dialysis, critical care and anaesthesia.

“There are private hospitals that are not able to train their own nursing staff and resort to pinching them from other public and private hospitals,” he said.

Meanwhile, in her welcoming speech, Ramona Lai, Managing Director of LFK Group, which owns Fook Kuin Medical Centre, said it was the dream of her late father Datuk Lai Fook Kim, a timber tycoon, to build the hospital.