Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo has vowed that no mores requests to build for-profit medical facilities will be endorsed under the Moon Jae-in administration.
Park made the remark before the National Assembly Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday when pressed regarding the concern that giving the green light to the country’s first for-profit hospital in Jeju will open the floodgates to demands for similar hospitals and eventually lead to the privatization of medical services.
He said all economic zones in the country other than Jeju need to receive approval from the ministry to build such a hospital and will not get the nod, adding currently there are no additional requests.
Noting South Korea’s existing medical services are already attracting 400-thousand foreign patients to the country each year, the minister said it is questionable whether the country needs a for-profit hospital for foreigners.
The opening of the China-funded hospital was granted on Wednesday on the condition that it only treats foreign tourists visiting Jeju in four service areas of cosmetic surgery, dermatology, internal and family medicine.