Cotai hospital to be run in public-private partnership with Peking Union Medical College

The future Islands Medical Complex in Cotai – set to be inaugurated in 2023 – will be managed in a public/private partnership with Peking Union Medical College, health authorities announced today (Wednesday).

The Beijing entity will manage the complex on a non-profit basis with local authorities to only bear the expenses for the staff, the Work Committee for the Development of the Islands Medical Complex Coordinator Lei Chin Ion indicated.

“This will not be a commercial operation but a way of the central government to support the SAR. It will be a non-profit initiate with no revenue for Peking Union and no profits shared. […] It will be run just like a public hospital,” Lei added.

Founded in 1921 by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing is a Class A tertiary comprehensive hospital with over 57 clinical and medical departments and 20 national key disciplines.

Describing the institution as the “best hospital in China” the former Health Bureau Director considered that after pondering the Macau SAR healthcare development, advice from the National Health Commission, the “high medical care standards and recognition” and a study carried out by a third party, the choice fell on the Beijing institution.

Authorities commissioned the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong to carry out a study on the future medical complex management system, which presented four operating models for the future hospital.

After assessing the study, the Health Bureau considered it was leaning towards a public-private partnership for the future management of the medical complex.

“Before we had plans for the Health Bureau to manage the complex but after a general overview and considering the study we decided to collaborate with another entity, which will be more beneficial for Macau,” Lei noted.

A special entity will be created to manage the complex and assess the wages of the medical staff to be employed in the complex, with half of the local professionals to be local with the other half being from the Peking Union.

“Most medical professionals and staff will be recruited locally with outside professionals hired in specialised areas that might be harder to find […] However, we don’t exclude the possibility of hiring overseas professionals […] It will surely be a flexible approach, which can better benefit the local population. Any medical professional from any country or region can be employed,” Lei noted.

Loca medical professionals will also carry out medical training in the Beijing medical entity for a period spanning from one to two years.

“For some medical areas one or two years might not be enough, there might be needed for more. The management entity will assess this,” workgroup member, Chou Kuok Hei added.

Further legislation will also have to be developed to cover future hospital operations and its managing entity.

The future hospital will aim to “fill the gaps” and shortcomings of the local health system, while improving the expertise of local medical professionals.

“Fees to be paid by residents will be the same as paid so far. People that enjoy free medical care will continue to do so,” workgroup member, Chou Kuok Hei added.

Health authorities also plan for the hospital to become a renowned institution in the region for residents in Greater Bay Area, while providing health tourism offerings that could attract clients from “Southeast Asia countries and overseas”.

The Legislative Assembly (AL) Follow-up Committee on Public Works stated in 2019 that the hospital’s main buildings are expected to finish construction in August, 2022, namely, the General Hospital Building, the Logistic Support Building, garbage collection centre, the Administration and Multi-Service Building, and main public lanes.

In total, the complete hospital construction works are expected to cost more than MOP10 billion, with the 420,000 square meters hospital set to be inaugurated in 2023.

“We expect to complete the hospital in the fourth quarter of 2023, with tests carried out after but an operational start expected in the same year […] The complex will offer 1,100 beds but the number could change since we are also considering health tourism services” Chou stated.