Q&A: Tung Shin Hospital
The quality of healthcare is high in Malaysia, no more so than in its capital Kuala Lumpur which can boast of high-end hospitals that provide excellent services. In this unique Q&A we learn more about Tung Shin Hospital, an unassuming private hospital with humble origins as a traditional medicine dispensary and hospice called Pooi Shin Thong. It is a place where East meets West.
Writer Ian Armitage
Project manager Eddie Clinton
Give me a brief introduction to Tung Shin. Who are you?
Tung Shin Hospital is a non-profit community hospital established in 1881 and we will celebrate our 132nd anniversary on December 1, 2013. The hospital is unique in the sense that this is the only hospital in Malaysia and also Southeast Asia that practices dual-treatment - modern medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.
What are your key strengths and what makes you unique?
It is rare any organisation can celebrate its 132 years anniversary but this hospital has been serving the people for that entire period, irrespective of race, creed or religion. Everyone is entitled to the best care and we live by that mantra.
What has the hospital been doing over the last year?
We have been undergoing a bit of a revamp in recent years. The Western Division, which started almost 40 years ago, has seen some refurbishment especially at the old wards and the process has seen us invest in new equipment and upgrades at the Radiology and Imaging Department. In 2011, we invested in a Philips Ingenuity 128 Slice Ct Scanner, for example. We've been doing a lot within our Chinese Medical Division too and started the 'Mobile Charity Clinic' providing free treatment and services especially in traditional Chinese medicine at seven places in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. It is a daily service we launched last year. The Chinese Medical Division shows a tremendous growth with almost 800 outpatients daily. Tung Shin Hospital will be better with years to come too as we continue to invest. We are proud of what we are doing and we continuously will provide the services as per our hospital objectives.
What issues have been affecting you and the industry as a whole?
The Malaysian private healthcare industry has undergone tremendous change over the last decade. Our Government is establishing Malaysia as a medical tourism hub and we need to really focus on what our strengths are in order to provide a better service to the world. We have top-notch surgeons and a world-class medical school here, rivalling anything in the West. Of course, we also provide traditional Chinese medicine in our healthcare delivery and we are expecting the Government to support the traditional and complementary medicine in Malaysia. Patients should get the choice for modern and complementary medicine. They should have the wide access. Nowadays, people start to 'trust' traditional or complimentary medicine in getting their treatment beside the modern medicine. We are looking to build on that.
What are the biggest challenges the hospital has faced?
The biggest challenge is the daily one of delivering high quality healthcare services with limited resources. As an NGO, this is the biggest challenge we face – we are reliant on public donations and government assistance in our healthcare delivery services.
How would you sum up the current state of the industry?
Currently, the private healthcare industry in Malaysia is getting more demanding. Patients nowadays are more intelligent and more open to information. Most healthcare issues and even treatment plans are available through the internet now. There are lots of opportunities for all within the changing landscape and we believe Tung Shin can be the pioneer in clinical research that comprises of complimentary and modern medicine.
Please tell me about your aims, targets and projections for 2013/14 and beyond?
We want to broaden access to healthcare, providing quality services to more and more people. The future will see us launch new clinics and continue with the upgrading of our hospital equipment, as well as much, much more. Tung Shin is not like others corporate hospitals and, as a non-profit, we depend on the generosity of the public – especially from the Chinese community – for funds for development. The Malaysia government did assist with some grants for Tung Shin development too, especially the Western Division.
How would you like to see the hospital develop?
Of course we would like to see a modern style hospital building with niche decors plus high class healthcare technology. Tung Shin is committed to delivering high levels of healthcare in a country that is fortunate to have a very comprehensive range of healthcare services and a Government committed to its principles of universal access to high-quality healthcare.
If you met a Genie who offered to have all of your dreams come true, in order of priority, what would they be?
We would like a modern concept hospital set-up with current services and practices.
And what's the secret to the hospital's success?
I think the top quality of healthcare delivery services especially from our directors, senior management team, all doctors and practitioners, nurses plus all our staff. We would like to see more dual-treatment hospital like Tung Shin Hospital in the future.
To learn more about Tung Shin visit www.tungshin.com.my.