Hospital inks medical deal in UAE

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Hospital inks medical deal in UAE

A Korean hospital has partnered with a leading United Arab Emirates health care provider to export for the first time medical examination services, as Seoul pushes to expand medical cooperation with the Middle East.

The Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital of the Catholic University of Korea yesterday inked a recently agreed upon 200 billion won ($193 million) deal with the VPS Healthcare, a large-scale health care company based in the UAE, to build two medical centers in two cities there.

Following the agreement, a health promotion center will be established in Abu Dhabi by the end of this year, and a second one is expected to be built in Dubai by 2016.

Each center is expected to raise a revenue of 100 billion won over the next five years.

Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital will send 25 members of its medical staff to the facilities to run the health examination centers, accounting for about a third of the total staff at those centers.

The medical centers are expected to be modeled after the Korean medical examination system.

Once opened, they are expected to attract locals as well as foreign patients.

St. Mary’s Hospital and VPS additionally agreed to establish cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and research facilities in the UAE, and signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a cancer center with a target total of 300 sickbeds, scheduled to open in 2016.

The new cancer facility will enable patients diagnosed at the medical centers to be transferred for treatment more quickly and easily.

The Korean government has been actively promoting medical services and technology overseas, and the most recent deal was strongly advocated by Minister of Health and Welfare Moon Hyung-pyo on his trip this week to the UAE.

“Through establishing a foothold in the UAE, we will expand cooperation in health and medical services in the Middle Eastern region,” Moon said Sunday in a press conference attended by medical experts in Abu Dhabi.

He added during his visit that the Abu Dhabi Health Authority had agreed to accept the licenses of Korean doctors, “one of the indicators of our efforts.”

Korean doctors with at least eight years of experience can currently be licensed by Abu Dhabi health officials. That will soon extend to doctors with at least three years of experience, he said.

“This is the first example of the excellence of Korea’s medical system being acknowledged,” the minister said. “In the future, we expect this to spread to other Middle Eastern countries and enable more flexibility in advancing Korean hospitals [in the region].”

Last month, Seoul National University Hospital was commissioned to operate a medical center in the UAE for the next five years, marking the first time a Korean hospital will oversee the management of a foreign general hospital.

The university hospital will be in charge of operating Sheikh Khalifa Specialist Hospital in the UAE’s Ras al-Khaimah and managing a budget of 1 trillion won, a move which is expected to start as early as November.



BY SARAH KIM, JANG JOO-YOUNG [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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