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Bangkok Hospital inks $40 million agreement

Bangkok Hospital inks $40 million agreement

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The top-notch hospital from Thailand is building a facility in Phnom Penh catering to Cambodians seeking high-end medical treatment

Nguon Sovan

Thai and Cambodian hospital representatives sign a joint-venture agreement Friday in Phnom Penh that would see a Bangkok Hospital facility built here by next year.

5% increase in Cambodians
 seeking treatment at Bangkok Hospital

Thailand’s Bangkok Hospital hopes to encourage more wealthy patients to seek treatment in Cambodian hospitals.

THE Royal Phnom Penh Hospital - a US$40 million joint venture in partnership with Thailand's Bangkok Hospital - is expected to open its doors in July 2009, project director Dr Soontorn Sritha told the Post following a contract-signing ceremony on Friday.

Soontorn said the new facility is being developed through a partnership with Thai Polycons (Cambodia) and SCA Engineering, and that construction began two months ago with about 20 percent of the development now complete.

"We would have liked to do the signing ceremony a few months ago, but we postponed it because of the political situation," he said, referring to the Cambodian national elections in July and ongoing border tensions with Thailand.

Thailand has developed a world-renowned private healthcare service, and the country has become a major international medical tourism destination.

Soontorn said the nearly three-month-long confrontation between Cambodia and Thailand over disputed territory near the Preah Vihear and Ta Moan temple complexes on the border will end soon but that business relationships between the two countries should continue as normal.

"Normally, business and political relationships have to be separated, like Taiwan and mainland China," he said. "Before investing, we calculated the risk. I don't think the border situation will lead to a war."

Medical service fees will be more or less similar to those charged in thailand.

Soontorn said construction and the installation of medical equipment is expected to conclude in June 2009, and the new hospital will launch in July.
Dr Chatree Duangnet, vice chairman of the Phnom Penh Medical Services Co, said the new facility will aspire to international standards.

"The hospital aims to provide a comprehensive range of health care options, both medical, and diagnostic services at an internationally recognised standard and equipped with cutting-edge technology," he said during the signing ceremony.

He said the hospital will be situated on a 20,000-square- metre site along Russian Boulevard in Sangkat Teuk Thla, Russey Keo district, adding that the eight-storey building will initially accommodate 100 beds but will eventually expand to 200 beds.

Chatree said the hospital will include an emergency unit, extended-care maternity unit, operating theatre, a critical care unit and dental clinic. The facility would also offer haemodialysis services and the latest imaging analysis procedures.

Soontorn told the Post the new Royal Phnom Penh Hospital will be the third subsidiary of Bangkok Hospital in Cambodia, following the 30-bed Royal Angkor in Siem Reap - a joint venture with Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Sieng Nam - and the 30-bed Royal Rattanak in Phnom Penh, built in partnership with Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh, Soontorn said.

He added that Thai Polycons will be responsible for construction of the facility while SCA Engineering will provide medical equipment supplies.

Keeping patients at home

Soontorn said as financial conditions improve for more Cambodians, they have begun to seek medical treatment overseas in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The new Royal Phnom Penh Hospital will bring together about 25 renowned physicians and specialists and employ a staff of about 200, Soontorn said.

"Medical service fees will be more or less similar to those charged in Thailand, so patients will save time and travel expenses by not seeking treatment overseas," he said.

He estimated that only about five percent of the Cambodian population of 13.5 million can afford high-end medical care.

Mam Bunheng, Cambodia's minister of health, told the Post Sunday that the investment would be good for Cambodians.

"It will facilitate more effective medical treatment so that people will not have to travel abroad for quality services," he said.

He said the facility will improve health care for middle- and upper-class Cambodians.

"The Ministry of Health normally focuses on public health for poor patients, and we don't have enough sophisticated medical equipment for rich patients. It is the private sector that can help us provide high-class medical treatment," he said.

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