New Novena Specialist Centre to help boost S’pore as medical tourism hub

Industry data showed that medical tourism in Asia is expected to be worth some US$4 billion by the year 2012.

And Singapore will be looking to capture a share of that with the opening of a new US$258.5 million medical centre next January.

Its landlord said the Novena Specialist Centre will work with its neighbours to offer tourist-friendly features.

Medical tourists to Singapore grew from some 570,000 in 2007 to 646,000 in 2008.

About half of Singapore’s medical visitors come from Indonesia, with the other 30-40 per cent coming from Malaysia and the Middle East. The remainder comes from Russia, China, the Philippines and Vietnam.

And more will be done to help the city state meet its target of attracting 1 million medical tourists a year by 2012.

Among them – the upcoming Novena Specialist Centre, which has just released 31 of the 69 suites to doctors for lease at an average rent of between $8 and $9 per square foot.

“We are beginning to see patients coming in from China, Vietnam, and as well as Cambodia. What I think is most important in our competitiveness is the speed at which we are able to provide the service,” said Adjunct Associate Professor Lim Beng Hai, Director & Senior Consultant, Centre for Hand and Reconstructive MicroSurgery.

Novena Specialist Centre is part of a 25-storey hotel-cum-commercial development.

It is also located within a cluster of reputable hospitals and medical institutions, which observers said will appeal to medical tourists.

“The opportunities may be there but if the infrastructure does not keep up with the demand, then we either get very expensive or we make ourselves uncompetitive. I think that is a concern we should focus on,” said GL Yap, executive director of Property Services at Far East Organisation.

Apart from foreigners, the centre will also serve a growing number of patients from Singapore which has seen its population jump to 5 million last year, up by 25 per cent from 2000.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 30 Aug 2010

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