Lanka Hos­pi­tals in ma­jor ex­pan­sion drive

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

Lanka Hos­pi­tals Cor­po­ra­tion PLC (LHCL), which is con­trolled by the Sri Lankan gov­ern­ment, will be in­vest­ing over Rs.350 mil­lion in ex­pan­sions, in­clud­ing a new 12-storey build­ing and set­ting up branches in other parts of Sri Lanka and in the Sey­chelles.

“The 12-storey build­ing- we have not bud­geted it yet; so the ex­act in­vest­ment isn’t fi­nal­ized yet but it will be around Rs.300 mil­lion and con­structed over the next two to three years,” LHCL CEO Dr. Prasad Medawatte told Mir­ror Busi­ness yes­ter­day. He said that the funds would be in­ter­nally gen­er­ated. Cur­rently, LHCL has around Rs.2.2 bil­lion in re­tained earn­ings in­vested in fi­nan­cial as­sets.

LHCL Chair­man Dr. Sarath Paranav­i­tane in his an­nual re­view for the past fi­nan­cial year said the hos­pi­tal has been bat­tling with con­strained ca­pac­ity.

The hos­pi­tal had an 85 per­cent oc­cu­pancy rate of its beds in 2017 and treated 27,116 pa­tients, which was a 0.5 per­cent de­cline year-onyear, due to the dengue epi­demic, which saw longer stays at the hos­pi­tal by fewer pa­tients.

While the land ad­ja­cent to the hos­pi­tal has been ac­quired for the new build­ing, which would house an ex­pan­sion of the ex­ist­ing ser­vices and the com­mence­ment of new spe­cial­iza­tions, LHCL has yet to fi­nal­ize the ac­cess road, Dr. Medawatte said.

Mean­while, af­ter the Sey­chelles Pres­i­dent Danny Faure vis­ited the hos­pi­tal last year and the sign­ing of sev­eral bi­lat­eral agree­ments be­tween LHCL and the Sey­chelles Health Care Agency to pro­mote train­ing of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als and med­i­cal tourism to Sri Lanka, LHCL will open its first over­seas unit in the Sey­chelles this year.

Ac­cord­ing to the LHCL an­nual re­port, the ‘Sey­chelles Med­i­cal Cen­tre’ would of­fer pri­mary care and screen­ing ser­vices and serve as a med­i­cal tourism pro­mo­tional arm of LHCL. In 2016, 715 pa­tients from the Sey­chelles vis­ited LHCL in Sri Lanka, of which 126 were ad­mit­ted, while in 2017, LHCL treated 178 pa­tients from the Sey­chelles. “The Sey­chelles branch will have an in­vest­ment of Rs.47 mil­lion and will also be fi­nanced by in­ter­nal funds,” Dr. Medawatte said.

The LHCL an­nual re­port out­lines how the firm is plan­ning the Sey­chelles foray to be a pilot project and its suc­cess would re­sult in the busi­ness model be­ing du­pli­cated in other re­gional coun­tries, to fur­ther pro­mote med­i­cal tourism to Sri Lanka. Do­mes­ti­cally, LHCL will be in­vest­ing around Rs.10 mil­lion to set up 10 satel­lite of­fices in re­gions out­side Colombo.

Dr. Medawatte said that the ser­vices of­fered by these of­fices would range from med­i­cal treat­ment down to lab­o­ra­tory ser­vices, de­pend­ing on the re­gion each of­fice is sit­u­ated in.

In 2017, LHCL’S net prof­its fell 40 per­cent year-on-year (YOY) to Rs.580.8 mil­lion, ow­ing to higher cost of ser­vices aris­ing from pro­vid­ing treat­ment dur­ing the dengue epi­demic, in spite of rev­enue in­creas­ing 8.4 per­cent YOY to Rs.6.4 bil­lion. The state-owned Sri Lanka In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion has a 54.61 per­cent stake in LHCL.

Dr. Sarath Paranav­i­tane

Dr. Prasad Medawatte

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