GEORGE TOWN, May 17 — Island Hospital today announced its proposed RM2 billion Island Medical City project to increase its patient capacity.

Hospital director Benny Lim said the first phase of the project will double its current 300 bed capacity, making it Penang’s first 600-bed private hospital when completed.

Long-term phases of the project will include constructing more medical suites, other ancillary facilities, and eventually expanding its capacity to 1,000 hospital beds.

“This world-class medical facility will focus on medical tourism that has a projection of a 30 per cent annual growth,” he said in a press conference at the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s office today.

The project, located on 6.83 acres of land along Peel Avenue and Pierce Road, is expected to take five years to complete.

“This project will provide over 2,000 job opportunities for locals and it will also serve to attract top Malaysian medical specialists and surgeons based overseas to come back and set up long-term practice in Penang,” he said.

He said the economic value of the project is expected to exceed RM7 billion, which will spill over to other industries as well.

“The Island Medical City will be the first-of-its-kind medical hub in Malaysia and it will have the most advanced tertiary care facility with multiple specialities including oncology, orthopaedics, neurosciences and geriatrics.

Later, Guan Eng said the project, once completed, will make it the largest hospital in Malaysia.

He added that it will spur the state’s medical tourism sector.

“This is not the only hospital expanding its services, there are also other hospitals coming up both on the mainland and the island to add to the state’s growing medical tourism sector,” he said.

Island Hospital signed the lease for the land in December 2016, at RM156 million, and it has two years to obtain a licence to build the new centre from the Health Ministry.