The new Islands Hospital in Macau plans to offer services to medical travellers when it opens in 2023. The Islands District Medical Complex, also known as the Islands Hospital, will function as a public hospital but will offer private medical services for medical tourists.
Macao, the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is known for tourism and casinos. It receives 39 million tourists a year, with a population of only 658,000; almost all are from Mainland China.
The new medical facility will be the first of its kind designed to provide medical tourism services in Macau.
There is no inbound medical tourism at present. For specialist care, many locals and expats go to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
The main aim of the hospital is to serve the population and provide a quality medical service to all people in Macau but, besides that, it wants to extend that service and be included in the regional cooperation projects such as the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and be able to attract patients from both the GBA as well as from abroad, namely from other Southeast Asian countries.
Paying medical tourists will financially benefit the hospital but will also help develop of the health industry in Macau.
In 2023, the hospital will focus first on providing services to people in Macau and will only expand into medical tourism after those services have been established.
The new hospital will be managed by Peking Union Medical College Hospital so that Macau can make use of its branding to attract medical tourists, namely those from the GBA who are familiar with the reputation of the long-standing Beijing medical institution.
Islands Hospital is also seen as a solution for the current situation where there is a lack of certain medical specialities within Macau’s health system.
Once the hospital is in full operation it will promote major advances in the development of the local medical industry, improving the level of specialised health care and reducing the inconvenience of local patients having to travel abroad for medical treatment.
This applies particularly to those who seek medical care abroad through the patient forwarding system administered by the Health Bureau, used in cases where the local system cannot provide an effective response to the medical needs of a patient.