Sri Lanka hospitals to increase capacity and seek medical tourists

 

The Lanka Hospitals Corporation is looking to increase capacity and expand into regions beyond Colombo. It is also exploring partnerships with investors. Lakith Peiris of Lanka Hospitals says, “Capacity increase at the current premises is being discussed and we will add 100 more rooms and new theatres and clinics this year. We are discussing with other parties and investors the possibility of partnerships or joint ventures to build new hospitals in the country. These discussions are at the early stages and we are still exploring the possibilities. On April 1 the first preliminary care centre will be opened in Malabe. This will house an outpatient department, laboratory, pharmacy, emergency care and also preliminary care. We will open six such centres in the Colombo suburbs this year.”

The hospital has plans to open an international patient care centre in a bid to cater to foreign patients. It will start to promote medical tourism this year, as it believes Sri Lanka is well on its way to be recognised as a medical destination. The former Apollo Hospital was rebranded as Lanka Hospitals in November 2009.

Another company believes that the country has potential. Ashok Pathirage of Softlogic Holdings adds, “ Sri Lanka has a well developed healthcare sector and the country should promote health tourism where there is a huge potential in the international market. The country’s medical sector is highly qualified and is capable of providing specialized treatment. Sri Lanka could be promoted as a health tourism destination with the expected influx of tourists. We could offer specialized services as the country has international standard hospitals and medical staff. Not only ayurveda treatment but western medication could be provided for the foreigners thereby earning foreign exchange. The focus should be to become a treatment centre similar to services offered by Singapore. The authorities should encourage modern private healthcare institutions to attract foreign patients. The sector needs incentives to upgrade its hospitals to be on par with international standards.”

Local conglomerate Softlogic Holdings plans to set up a state-of-the-art hospital in Kandy with a substantial investment. This hospital is at the design stage and will have 100 beds. The fully equipped hospital will be ready for the public in 30 months. The company also plans to set up a specialist cancer treatment centre and negotiations are currently underway. The company is getting ready to cater to the international market. Softlogic acquired shares in Asiri Hospitals in 2006 and in Asiri Surgical Hospitals in 2007.It has now controls the Asiri group of 4 hospitals consists of 4 hospitals and the newly planned one will be the largest private hospital in Colombo.

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