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Lawmakers pass Cotai hospital bill

2023-08-02 02:22     BY Tony Wong    Comment:0

The Legislative Assembly (AL) yesterday passed a government-initiated bill regulating the management of its Cotai hospital complex, officially known as Islands Healthcare Complex, which will be operated by Peking Union Medical College Hospital (aka Beijing Xiehe Hospital).

“Xiehe” means “harmony”. 

According to the new law, which will take effect on October 1, the employment of the Cotai hospital complex’s staff members will be regulated by the city’s labour legal system for the private sector, rather than by the government’s employment system for public servants, with the aim of increasing the flexibility in recruiting highly-qualified health professionals.

“Islands” is the official term referring to Taipa, Coloane and Cotai

The Cotai hospital complex is now scheduled to start operating in December this year.

The bill’s outline was passed during a plenary session of the legislature in January this year. The legislature’s 3rd Standing Committee held several meetings to review the bill.

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U attended yesterday’s plenary session when the bill was voted on article-by-article in its second and final reading.

According to the new law, the Macau government will ensure that the operation of the public Islands Healthcare Complex will be sufficiently financed, while Peking Union Medical College Hospital will be responsible for operating and managing the Cotai hospital complex, through its “brand” and medical techniques, in collaboration with the Macau government.

The new law will set up a strategic development committee as the Islands Healthcare Complex’s top decision-making body, which will consist of eight members to be appointed by the chief executive.

According to the new law, the Cotai hospital complex will have its own system regulating staff recruitment, selection, hiring, salaries and benefits, social security payments, performance evaluation, incentives, and disciplinary measures, which will not be subject to rules of the city’s legal system concerning the employment of public servants.

The large-scale Cotai hospital complex project comprises two phases – six buildings in the first phase and one in the second phase.

The construction of all the six buildings in the Cotai hospital complex’s first phase has been completed, while the construction of the second phase’s rehabilitation hospital is now expected to get off the ground at the end of this year.


First phase to have 850 beds

Addressing yesterday’s plenary session, Ao Ieong noted that the Cotai hospital complex will have a total of 25 operating theatres, while the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre currently has eight. According to the policy secretary, the Cotai hospital complex’s first phase will have 850 beds, while the future rehabilitation hospital in the second phase will provide 300 beds.

Ao Ieong also said that the Cotai hospital complex will have its own website listing various information such as the health services available, doctors’ information, and fees.

The policy secretary, who will directly oversee the Cotai hospital complex’s operation, also reaffirmed yesterday that the Macau government will recruit 400 healthcare workers for the first-phase operation of the Cotai hospital complex. She said that while the local government would prioritise the recruitment of local residents, it was not confident that it would be able to recruit enough healthcare workers from local residents.

Ao Ieong said that if the local government would still be unable to hire enough local healthcare workers, it would recruit their counterparts from outside Macau.

According to Ao Ieong, 50 doctors from Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing will move to Macau to work at the Cotai hospital complex, including top management members and senior specialists.


3 charging models

Moreover, Ao Ieong also reaffirmed that the Cotai hospital complex will have three charging schemes. On the first level, she said, local patients eligible for free public health services will also enjoy free services at the Cotai hospital after referral by the Health Bureau (SSM).

On the second level, according to Ao Ieong, local residents ineligible for free public health services will have to pay fees “that are reasonable” at the Cotai hospital after referral by the Health Bureau.

According to the policy secretary, the third level will consist of private health services providing locals and non-locals alike with high-end healthcare choices, where they will have to pay fees that will be determined in reference to the levels of the private healthcare markets in Macau, Hong Kong and the mainland.

According to Ao Ieong, the Cotai hospital complex would offer a discount to local residents who use the third-level healthcare services.  


Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U addresses yesterday’s plenary session in the Legislative Assembly’s (AL) hemicycle. – Photo courtesy of TDM


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