New Aberdeen hospital to provide affordable services for two-thirds of Hongkongers

Owner aims for fixed prices on 50 per cent of services - 20 per cent more than stipulations

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 January, 2015, 11:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 January, 2015, 2:02pm

A new 500-bed private hospital in Aberdeen partnering the University of Hong Kong aims to offer medical services at prices "affordable" to at least two-thirds of Hongkongers, the hospital's Singaporean major owner told the Post on Thursday.

The Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital, which is expected to open in 2017, is the first hospital to be built under unprecedented tendering conditions imposed by the government.

The hospital must provide at least half of its services to Hong Kong residents, cap obstetric services at 20 per cent of capacity and ensure that at least 30 per cent of services are available at standard package prices - meaning the price includes all costs.

On top of meeting the requirements, Dr Tan See Leng, chief executive of Parkway Pantai Holding, which is partnering the university and Hong Kong's NWS Holdings to build the complex, said the hospital will not focus only on the high-end market.

"We are hoping to target as much of the population as possible," said Tan.

"As for the charges, our aspiration is to [make them] affordable to at least two-thirds of Hongkongers."

He says the hospital will offer patients rooms of two classes - a private room with one bed and semi-private with two beds.

Tan said the company had hired a consultancy firm to determine the charges for services, and will aim to provide 50 per cent at the fixed price despite only 30 per cent being required under the tender conditions.

The hospital will require over 150 doctors and 800 nurses for its 15 specialities, according to an initial estimate by the HKU.

Tan said 45 doctors from the university would be splitting their duties between HKU and the new hospital.

He is confident about recruitment despite a shortage of medical practitioners in the city - particularly at public hospitals where talents are being lured to the lucrative private market.

The Aberdeen site was one of four earmarked by the former administration to build a private hospital - one of the "six new pillar industries" identified by former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen as having a bright future.

But the plans on three other sites have been scrapped as they received little interest during the tender period in 2013.

Parkway's parent group IHH Health operates 37 hospitals across the world, as well as a small medical clinic in Central. By 2017, 19 more hospitals under the group will be redeveloped or built, including Gleneagles.

Tan said his company has decided to invest into Hong Kong as he believed the market is most similar to his native Singapore.

He said that Japan aside, both Hong Kong and Singapore are facing the most rapidly ageing populations in the region.

The pattern of diseases and types of illnesses treated are also very similar and there is a lot of collaboration between the medical fields in the two cities.

"[Entering the Hong Kong market] is a natural expansion for us," Tan said.