▲ Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong at the announcement that the for-profit hospital would receive permission to open. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
Greenland International Hospital has finally received permission to operate on Jeju. When it opens, it will be the first for-profit hospital in Korea.
However, the permission comes with some caveats, namely that it can only cater to foreign tourists. Patients will not be able to use the national medical service at the hospital.
The hospital will also be limited in what it can treat. The four departments will be plastic surgery, dermatology, internal medicine, and family medicine.
Additionally, the Jeju administration said it will supervise the hospital and that it could cancel its license should it violate the terms of the agreement.
The three-story hospital will have 47 beds and employ 134 people including 107 people from Jeju.
The idea for a for-profit hospital was first suggested back in the early 2000s. The Ministry of Health and Welfare gave Chinese company Greenland Group permission to build the hospital in 2015. Since then, debate about whether the hospital should be allowed to open has been intense.
Construction of the hospital was completed in July last year, and the owners applied to open in August. However, despite it having already hired staff, it did not receive permission.
Following this, residents held a public investigation committee that suggested the hospital should not open.
While Governor Won initially said he would stand by the result of the committee, he eventually gave the hospital permission to open.
Reasons given for this include concerns over diplomatic tensions with China, the potential for lawsuits from investors, and the issue of the people the hospital has already employed.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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