‘Sarawak is not yet ready for medical tourists’

KUCHING: Normah Medical Specialist Centre managing director and CEO Datuk Dr Au Yong Kien Hoe has opined that Sarawak is not yet ready for medical tourism.

He said the state needs to be truly “ready” if it aimed to attract more first-world patients.

Dr Au Yong said when the first-world patients come, they would have higher demands and expectations because they are well-informed.

“And if we say we are ready and they come and yet we are not ready, we will destroy our reputation,” he cautioned.

In his opinion, for a medical hospital to claim “to be ready” for medical tourism, it meant the hospital “would not refer”, but would be able to handle the situation “from A to Z”.

He admitted that even for Normah Medical Specialist Centre, the hospital was only ready for health tourism but not medical tourism.

According to him, the only hospital that is ready as a specialist centre is Institut Jantung Malaysia (IJM) which he described as one of the leading centres in the world in cardiac medical services.

Dr Au Yong said this during the “Creating Experiences and Exceeding Expectations for Sarawak, where Adventure Lives” discussion session at the 4th Sarawak Business and Investment Summit event held by Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) at a local hotel here this morning.

Dr Au Yong and Sarawak Tourism Federation president Philip Yong were the panelists for this session that was moderated by Sarawak Tourism Board acting CEO Mary Wan Mering.

Dr Au Yong was responding to questions on whether Sarawak was ready for medical tourism and whether there were cases against hospitals for negligence.

On the second part of the question, Dr Au Yong said there were a few such cases though not common.

He said these lawsuits came about mainly due to miscommunication and different expectations.

“For Normah, if we make a mistake, we will admit and see where we have gone wrong,” he said.