A number of community components have expressed fears that plans by the province to establish an international hospital may fall short in meeting the health needs of the Balinese people. According to the Bali Post, some are concerned that with plans to hand over the operation of the hospital to a private third-party could means that Bali’s poor may fail to benefit from the hospital’s establishment.
Adding to these fears is the absence of a clear outline of the proposed joint-venture agreement between the provincial government and the private party expected to manage the hospital. The government has indicated that it has at least three candidate investor-partners, one each from Germany, Thailand and Singapore.
The head of the Provincial Health Service for Bali, Dr. Ketut Suarjaya, told the press on Wednesday, August 22, 2012, that a draft agreement for the management of the hospital was still being considered. Suarjaya also confirmed that earlier plans to begin constructing the hospital in September have now been pushed back to November.
Commenting on the project, Suarjaya said the government’s involvement is limited to the provision of a 2.9 hectare plot of land and a physical plant costing Rp. 195 billion (US$20.97 million). Plans are for the third-party chosen to run the hospital to provide medical equipment, furnishings and the staff to run and operate the hospital.
Saying the agreement to cover the cooperation was still being drafted, Suarjaya told the press that a special team will address legal issues governing the operation of the hospital, the period during which the agreement will remain in force and other matters, such as the amount of local labor to be employed at the facility. “All these things are being drafted at this time. Once the draft is finished, it will be communicated to the candidate investors which will be followed by negotiations addressing various matters, such as the number of local workers.”
Suarjaya said the decision to start construction of the hospital in November, two months later that the original plan of September, was done because of the large number of public holidays, adding: “By the third week of November we hope there will be able to announce the winner of the tender process now being handled by the procurement division (ULP). Once there is a tender winner we target for the physical construction to begin. Also (at that time) the operational investor will be in hand.”
Meanwhile, some observers have remarked on the peculiarity that the design and construction of the hospital is being finalized without firt consulting those entrusted to operate the hospital.
Meanwhile, a leading academic, Dr. I Wayan Jondra, has stated that he hopes the new International Hospital project proves to be more than a “show piece” of the government, but is also able to contribute to the people’s welfare and provide employment for local workers.
Jondra called on the provincial government to take extra care to make sure the interest of the Balinese are safeguarded in the joint-venture agreement for the hospital’s operation. He said he hoped local workers would secure positions in the top management of the hospital and not only be assigned to menial positions.
Finally, he stated his hope that the hospital would not only provide medical care for Bali’s poor, but would also purchase local goods and products used in operating the facility.
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