Health Tourism

Malaysia is currently ranked among the world’s top health tourism destinations thanks to its affordable, high quality medical treatment, with over 60% of health tourists making Penang their preferred destination. The rise of health tourists in the recent years has also contributed strong revenue for Penang’s health tourism sector. For health tourism alone, State Tourism Exco Danny Law Heng Kiang shared that ‘Penang generated RM370 million and RM320 million in revenue in 2013 and in 2012, respectively,’ before adding that health visitors from Medan, Indonesia have been strong supporters and contributors to Penang’s booming health tourism.

The huge interest in health tourism sparked the establishment of Penang Health Association in 2006, then later in 2015, The Penang Centre of Medical Tourism (PMED) was established to promote Penang’s health tourism. This specialised task force has grown from strength to strength and is now home to 10 member hospitals and 2 associate members spread over various locations throughout Penang. Collectively they provide excellent healthcare encompassing a wider range of specialist medical services.

Armed with highly-qualified specialists and well-trained doctors and nurses, both private and public hospitals in Penang offers a wide range of healthcare services. It includes medical and surgical treatments in the likes of orthopaedics and rheumatology, ophhalmology, oncology, cardiology and cadiovascular surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, ear, nose and throat, nephrology and urology, plastic and reconstructive restoration as well as gastroenterology. Plastic, cosmetic and aesthetic restoration are also part of the available treatments around.

Affordable treatment cost also attracted medical tourists to the city. Cost for a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery may amount to US$80,000 in the United States but with similar procedures performed in Penang, the cost is approximately RM20,000. Facelift and rhinoplasty that amount to US$14,500 and US$8,000 respectively overseas might only cost just about RM4,900 and RM3,600 respectively.

Aside from healthcare services and affordable treatment costs, medical tourists visiting Penang will find the environment perfect for rejuvenation and convalescence. Attractions like Penang Hill and Penang Botanic Gardens offer vigorous treks, walking trails and bracing fresh air.

Numerous resorts offering spas, reflexology, yoga and meditation, as well as vegetarian and organic restaurants, are scattered around the island, all of which cater to both locals and visitors interested in wellness. Penang's cultural rebirth is not going unnoticed, and it appeals to the well-travelled health tourists.

Health tourism in Malaysia is closely monitored by the Malaysian Ministry of Health and Ministry of Tourism to guarantee visiting patients first class treatment and care. In addition, many hospitals are also ISO 9001 accredited for Quality Management Systems and have Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation. Penang’s leading private healthcare institutions meet the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) standards. Here is a list of private and public hospitals in Penang:

Public hospitals in Penang:
Balik Pulau Hospital
Penang General Hospital
Bukit Mertajam Hospital
Kepala Batas Hospital
Seberang Jaya Hospital
Sungai Bakap Hospital

Private hospitals in Penang:
Bagan Specialist Centre
Carl Corrynton Medical Centre
Gleneagles Penang
Island Hospital
KPJ Penang Specialist Hospital
Lam Wah Ee Hospital
Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre
Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital
Pantai Hospital Penang
Penang Adventist Hospital
Pearl Maternity Hospital

For more on Health Tourism in Penang, read our article titled 'A Stimulating Break' published on Medical Tourism Malaysia here.

Sources: 'Patients Beyond Borders - Everybody's Guide to Affordable, World-Class Healthcare by Josef Woodman' August 2011
'Penang tops list for medical tourism'The Star, 5 October 2012
'Penang: Hospital for the Orient - Right place, right time'Penang Monthly, 25 February 2013
'Penang medical tourism boom taxes state hospital'The Malay Mail Online, 30 July 2013
'Penang to take advantage of medical tourism boom'The Malay Mail Online, 22 August 2013