A Grand Old Lady Set to Step Into 21st Century

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By See Foon Chan-Koppen

Kinta Medical Centre is all set on an RM5 million extensive refurbishing programme that will see all its facilities and medical services upgraded over a two year period.

Beginning in January 2010 when a new management team was put in place, this 48-bed hospital has been quietly renovating its physical premises.

Along with this cosmetic upgrade, orders for new equipment have been placed and new facilities are in the pipeline to bring back the glory that once earned this hospital the accolade of being the premier hospital in Ipoh offering affordable medical care.

Datuk Dr. Satiadass (left) and Dr. Suresh Sammanthamurthy(right)

Re-Engineering Exercise
Spearheading this re-engineering exercise are: Executive Director (Operations) Dr. Suresh Sammanthamurthy who is also a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon based in Kinta Medical, and COO Datuk Dr. Satiadass. With a vision to be a customer driven and patient-centred organization, they have been tasked with their team members to turn around, upgrade, improve performance, efficiency and profitability of the organization.

The hospital came into being when the late Mr. Foo Yet Kai, a renowned Ipoh philanthropist, bought the Chung Thye Phin Villa from the family of a late Kapitan and donated the property for setting up of a private hospital known as Our Lady’s Hospital run by the Congregation of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood. The hospital was for the benefit of people of all races and creeds who require hospital treatment at affordable rates. It has been open to the public since September 1963.

Wide Range of Services
Kinta Medical Centre offers a wide range of outpatient and inpatient services and facilities supported by dedicated medical consultants, nurses and other support staff. Resident specialities at Kinta Medical include Orthopaedics, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, Radiology, Anaesthetic services, and a 24-hour emergency centre. Currently more than 40 visiting doctors and specialists utilise the hospital and they even boast Ipoh’s only Podiatrist (think feet).

Boutique Hospital
Although no effort is being spared to upgrade all existing facilities to current modern standards, the emphasis for Kinta Medical is for it to be known as a ‘Boutique’ hospital with all the attendant personalized services that a boutique operation implies. Plans are for retaining the current number of rooms and beds and because it is a heritage building, all its rooms are generously sized and special ‘boutique’ single rooms are being designed. Operating at a ratio of 1 staff to 3 beds where the national average is 1 to 4, Kinta’s approach is focused on warmth and empathy being the key operating philosophy.

Although operationally it has moved away from being a charitable hospital, plans are underway for  a separate entity under the Foo Yet Kai Foundation to continue its former charitable activities with the support  of Kinta Medical Centre where Chairman of the Board, Dato’ Dr. Foo Wan Kien can carry on the family tradition of philanthropy begun by his father.  “With this refurbishment and upgrading, we shall soon see Kinta Medical regain its former glory and taking its rightful place as a top medical service provider while at the same time building its reputation as the top ‘Boutique’ hospital in the northern region,” he said.

Mini garden – before (left) and after

New Facilities
A new Day Care Ward is nearing completion for elective day surgeries and a new operating theatre painted in bright green has been completed as is a new Maternity Ward.  New equipment such as a 32-slice CT scan, X-ray machines and Mammogram equipment have been ordered and await delivery.

When asked to define the philosophy of Kinta Medical, Executive Director (Operations) Dr. Suresh had this to say, “This hospital was founded with charity in mind. In keeping with the late Mr Foo Yet Kai’s philanthropic motives, we aim to keep our prices affordable while providing quality medical care for all patients.”

COO Datuk Dr. Satiadass added, “As a ‘Boutique Hospital’, we want to be known to be charming, warm, and most of all caring. We are after all in a Heritage Building and we intend to retain all the external character of a grand mansion while creating a modern and efficient hospital operation inside.”

This grand old lady looks set to step into the 21st century.

One thought on “A Grand Old Lady Set to Step Into 21st Century

  1. The heritage value of this Chung Thye Phin Villa should be taken into account in new ideas for the hospital.

    Already, the Chung Thye Phin building at the corner of Jln Maharaja Lela (Station Road) and Jln Sultan Yussuf (Belfield Street) has been done over and it is, I believe, desperately seeking a long-term tenant.

    I hope that both owners understand the heritage of their buildings. If not, why not?

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