A private institution will operate the new public hospital complex in Cotai when it comes into service in 2023, the Health Bureau (SSM) has announced.
Health Bureau Director Alvis Lo Iek Long, Tai Wa Hou, a clinical director of the Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, and Wong Cheng Po, who heads the bureau’s Research and Planning Office, made a joint announcement, pointing out that the Islands Healthcare Complex would continue to be a public hospital “by nature”.
The SSM commissioned the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) to research the most suitable operational model for the new hospital.
HKUMed Dean Gabriel Leung Cheuk-wai said that the research team studied four possible options.
The team concluded that the Cotai hospital complex should be run by a private institution, either a commercial enterprise or a non-profit organisation, for up to 10 years, while the Macao government would still own all the facilities. Leung said that the institution would be tasked with operating and managing the hospital and repairing the facilities.
The Islands Healthcare Complex comprises seven buildings – only one, a nursing college, has been completed so far, while a rehabilitation wing is still being designed.
The other buildings under construction comprise a general hospital, a logistics support centre, an administration and multi-purpose division, staff quarters, and a central laboratory.
Wong reaffirmed that apart from the rehabilitation wing, the Cotai hospital project is slated to be completed next year and come into service in phases in 2023.
Wong noted that the complex will have a gross area of 420,000 square metres, double the gross area of all the existing Health Bureau facilities combined.
The city currently has three major hospitals: the Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, the Kiang Wu Hospital and the University Hospital run by the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST).
According to Wong, Macao had 2,149 beds in all its hospitals last year, including 1,020 beds in the Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre. Wong said that the Cotai hospital complex will have about 1,100 beds, so the total number of beds in Macao will increase by around 50 per cent after the Cotai hospital comes into service.
Wong noted that Macao’s healthcare service will face various challenges in coming years, such as an ageing population, more residents expected to suffer chronic diseases, and constantly rising expenditure in medical service.
When asked whether the Macao government is discussing with Peking Union Medical College Hospital the possible granting of an agreement to operate the Cotai hospital in conjunction with the Macao government, Lo said that for the time being it was unsuitable to reveal the names of any particular institutions that the government is having discussions with. Lo underlined that the Macao government is discussing the matter with a number of institutions from more than one region, reported The Macau Post Daily.