New private-public partnership targets international patients

 

A plan in Finland to establish a new-generation hospital as a joint venture between the public and private sectors is taking shape in Lappeenranta.

The South Karelia Social and Health Care District (Eksote)
, Nordic Clinic and Holiday Club Resorts have joined forces and launched a project that will ultimately result in the establishment of a new hospital. The operational models for the new hospital will further increase the efficiency of organising health care services. The hospital will provide services to Finnish and international private patients.

Pentti Itkonen of Eksote explains,” This project holds great interest for us. Encouraging tourists to use health care services available in our district has been one of the goals of South Karelia for quite some time. A jointly run hospital will help us develop our activities in a very tangible manner. The project will increase our income. An arrangement like this will allow us to separate public and private health care. The locals can rest assured that the establishment of a jointly run hospital will not lead to longer waiting times or adversely affect the availability of care for people living in the area. The new hospital will also attract new doctors to the area. This is excellent news as we have had trouble recruiting doctors. The hospital represents an entirely new kind of close collaboration between the public and private sectors. It will also help us prepare for the inevitable changes brought about by the EU Directive on patients' rights, which enters into force in 2014. Our goal is to allow the private and the public sector to use their special expertise and resources to the best effect, producing the best possible health care services in a cost-effective manner.”

Project developer Wirma Lappeenranta is a business development company in Lappeenranta that provides services to entrepreneurs, companies and tourists. It aims to develop the operational environment and competitiveness of the region. Establishing a centre for health and wellness tourism is one of the key goals of their business strategy. Markku Mäki-Hokkonen of Wirma Lappeenranta comments,” Health and wellness services are an excellent example of valuable services that will attract skilled professionals to the region and create more jobs. Holiday Club has been a trendsetter for the business sector in the area. Health tourism also benefits other service providers in the region, such as companies providing rehabilitation and travel services.”

Holiday Club Resorts is a leading European timeshare and tourism company owned by a consortium of the management, Varma, Suomen Teollisuussijoitus, Ilmarinen, Fennia Group and a group of Finnish private investors. Holiday Club Resorts has 32 resorts and 1500 holiday homes, mostly in Finland. Seven of the resorts feature not only holiday homes but also a spa hotel. Nine resorts are located outside Finland: in Sweden, on the Costa del Sol in Spain and in the Canary Islands.

Nordic Clinic is a Finnish medical tourism agency specialising in Finland and the Nordic countries. It only works with carefully selected leading service suppliers in the private and public sectors. Nordic Clinic’s service range includes specialised medical care, care on the ward, consultations, health care hotel and travel agent services, which are offered through its network of quality certified partners.

Nordic Clinic will provide the new enterprise with a brand, a system for managing integrated care pathways in the field of specialised medical care, a sales and administrative organisation and the opportunity to use its existing customer relationships with Finnish and international insurance companies. Holiday Club Resorts will provide accommodation services and be actively involved in sales and marketing activities. All the operators believe that South Karelia has major potential for health tourism.

In the new hospital, an individual treatment pathway will be created for each patient, and the patient's need for treatment will be determined early on and in as much detail as possible. The goal is to refer the patient to treatment as quickly as possible, which helps cut down waiting times and costs. If everything goes according to plan, the hospital will open by late 2014 or early 2015.

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