31/01/2024 09:36 AM

By Harizah Hanim Mohamed

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 (Bernama) -- Sunsuria Bhd’s (Sunsuria) subsidiary, Sunsuria Healthcare aims to strengthen its presence in the tertiary healthcare market and is set to launch several cancer centres focusing on sub-speciality cancer treatments, with the first centre to open this month.

The establishment of the Icon Sunsuria Cancer Centre at Island Hospital in Penang is the outcome of a partnership between Sunsuria Healthcare and Icon Group, the operator of Australia's largest private oncology care provider.

Sunsuria Healthcare chief executive officer Audrey Ooi said the company has charted its own path for growth in alignment with market needs, which would ultimately contribute to the parent company, Sunsuria.

“We have outlined a five to seven-year strategic plan, which will see the opening of a few more cancer centres with strategic hospital partners. Our focus will be working with hospital partners to enhance the delivery of quality cancer care to their patients, and looking at geographical areas where there is still a gap in cancer care.

“Our attention is directed towards enhancing sub-speciality care in tertiary hospitals, which represent the vulnerability in our existing healthcare system,” she told Bernama.

Ooi emphasised that Sunsuria Healthcare has set its sights on the depth of tertiary hospitals, with a focus on ensuring the successful establishment and operation of the cancer centre.

“Our immediate growth focus over the next 12 months is to further expand our network of tertiary partners and specialists while simultaneously initiating the establishment of our chain of cancer centres across different cities in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak with identified partners. We are actively seeking local strategic partners and collaborators to strengthen and enhance cancer care in the region.

“The goal is to prioritise the delivery of high-quality healthcare services, addressing critical gaps and contributing to the overall improvement of healthcare accessibility and standards in the region,” she added.

Concurrently, Sunsuria Healthcare are actively engaged in two other projects, namely Sunsuria Care and Sunsuria Medical Clinic.

“Sunsuria Care is a community healthcare hub built within Sunsuria’s property development projects while Sunsuria Medical Clinic is slated to provide primary healthcare and comprehensive services to the Sunsuria City community as well as the public respectively,” she said.

Citing the notable gap in cancer treatments in Malaysia, Ooi emphasised that there is a shortage of oncologists in places at present, hence Malaysians are compelled to travel over an hour to other places to seek cancer treatment. 

“Currently, our oncologist-to-population ratio falls significantly below the World Health Organisation's recommended standard of one oncologist per 100,000 population. With only about 170 oncologists at present, the ratio stands at 1:220,000. This shortfall is exemplified in certain cities such as Seremban or the east coast, where, for instance, there are currently no oncologists," she added.

Asked on the projection of revenue contribution to the group, she said contribution from the healthcare segment to the group is still preliminary, and Sunsuria Healthcare is focusing on building phases and commercialisation stage.

Sharing her thoughts on medical tourism, Ooi said that Malaysia has a competitive edge due to the fact that its professionals and standard of practices are in accordance with those in the United Kingdom, Australia and other international organisations.

"The integrity of our people and the fact that our doctors adhere to international standards, along with practices, have effortlessly positioned Malaysia as an appealing destination for medical tourism," she said, adding that the country's current foreign exchange rate has further contributed to the attraction.

She further said that a significant number of international patients who previously travelled to Singapore are now looking at Malaysia as an alternative and that there is considerable interest from patients in Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates regarding the possibility of receiving treatment in the centres in Malaysia.

“As a strategic initiative, we are proactively collaborating with both local and international insurance panels, having successfully onboarded numerous international panels for our Penang’s centre. With the rising healthcare expenses, we're striving to extend our support to a growing number of international patients covered by these panels, encouraging them to access healthcare services in Malaysia.” 

Sunsuria Healthcare's proactive initiatives underscore its commitment to addressing gaps in healthcare and improving accessibility. 

By collaborating with local specialists, international partners and embracing medical tourism, it is not only enhancing Malaysia's position as a healthcare destination but also contributing to the region's overall healthcare standards. 

With a focus on high-quality services and strategic growth aligned with market needs, Sunsuria Healthcare remains dedicated to making a positive impact on healthcare in the region, fostering growth, and ensuring the well-being of the communities it serves.




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