Grand Old Lady Transforms into Blushing Debutante


By See Foon Chan-Koppen

Kinta Medical Centre (KMC) has certainly put its money where its mouth is. In the November 15, 2010 (IE 109) issue, KMC announced that it was in the throes of an extensive RM5 million refurbishing programme that will see all its facilities and medical services upgraded over a two-year period. Begun in January 2010 when a new management team was put in place, this 48-bed hospital has been busily renovating its physical premises. Today, the hospital can proudly show off the fruits of its labours in the past year, having completed Phase 1 of its ambitious upgrading plan.

This ‘boutique’ hospital now boasts a new Accident and Emergency facility, Day Care facility and completely refurbished and upgraded Operating Theatre.

All its single and double rooms have been tastefully refurbished to create a cosier ambiance, with the aim of removing some of the usual clinical feel to alleviate patients’ anxiety. Additionally, new sofa beds have been added to enable patients’ family members or carers to sleep in the same room with the patient.

With room rates at RM80-85 for a double and RM150 for a single, KMC looks set to bring back the glory that once earned this hospital the accolade of being the premier hospital in Ipoh offering affordable medical care. Along with this cosmetic upgrade, orders for new equipment such as a 32-slice CT scan, new X-ray machines and new Mammogram equipment have been ordered and await delivery. Plans are also in the offing for a refurbishing of the heritage facade.

With the vision to be a customer driven and patient-centred organisation, dynamic man-at-the-helm, Executive Director (Operations) Dr. Suresh Sammanthamurthy who is also a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon based in Kinta Medical, is inspiring team members to turn around, upgrade, improve performance, efficiency and profitability of the organisation.

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.

The new Day Care Ward for elective day surgeries is one of the main focuses of Dr. Suresh’s attention these days. Coupled with a new operating theatre painted in cheerful and healing green and being the pioneer  private hospital in Ipoh to have a formal day care ward, KMC is all set on an aggressive marketing drive to attract non-attached medical Specialists to apply for consultant status either as resident or visiting consultants. “We’re talking to cosmetic/plastic/orthopaedic and general surgeons, where the trend in the United States is moving towards Day Care for the elective surgeries”, said Dr. Suresh. “If a patient could have their surgery done and be discharged home within the same day it would mean a reduction in cost to the patients as well as allowing them to recover from surgery within the comforts of their own homes”, he added.

“We have a full pharmacy and attendant diagnostic facilities at our doorstep and it would make much better economic sense that other independent specialists register as consultants with us than to incur additional overhead costs on their own. With sufficient support, we can activate our plans to build a block of Specialist medical clinics on our premises for which we have ample land”, he continued. “Our Paediatric Ward is currently being upgraded and we’re also hoping to attract more paediatricians to join us”, he added.

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.

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.

In IE 109 we called KMC the ‘grand old lady’, ready to step into the 21st Century. Today, it appears as if the ‘grand old lady’ has undergone a rejuvenation and is now the blushing debutante waiting to be presented to society.