Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The healthcare sector in Vietnam has faced significant challenges in recent years, including corruption scandals that rocked the Ministry of Health and a lack of world-class medical facilities. However, there seems to be a glimmer of hope with Thomson Medical Group’s (TMG) acquisition of FV Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. This move has sparked discussions about its potential impact on the quality of healthcare, particularly for the expat community in the country.
A Bit of History on World-Class Healthcare Providers Since 2003
Over the past two decades, the demand for world-class healthcare services has been on the rise globally. Countries like Singapore and Thailand have become medical tourism hubs, attracting patients from around the world seeking top-notch medical treatments and facilities.
These countries have invested heavily in their healthcare infrastructure, attracting renowned healthcare providers and specialists from various fields. Since 2003, they have set a benchmark for the region, offering high-quality medical care and advanced treatment options.
FV Hospital: The Only International Standard Hospital?
Despite the growth of the healthcare sector in Vietnam, FV Hospital remains the only international standard hospital in the country. This lack of competition has allowed FV Hospital to dominate the market, securing its position as the go-to destination for expats seeking quality medical care. Without other international-standard facilities, FV Hospital has enjoyed a favorable position with no level playing field, which has affected the overall healthcare landscape in the country.
The Real Level of Healthcare in Vietnam
Over the past 20 years, Vietnam’s healthcare system has made progress but still faces significant challenges. While FV Hospital has been a reputable name, it alone cannot represent the entire healthcare system. The reality is that healthcare in Vietnam, especially outside of FV Hospital and Vinmec, has not reached the same level of international standards seen in neighboring countries like Singapore. This raises questions about the true quality of healthcare available to the general population.
The Healthcare System vs. Competitive Market Forces
The healthcare sector in Vietnam has been facing challenges due to government interventions, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and the exposure of corruption across the country’s provinces. These issues have affected the overall functioning of the healthcare system and have also impacted private healthcare providers’ operations, like Vinmec hospitals. Additionally, the lack of significant government support for the private healthcare sector has hindered its growth and expansion.
TMG’s High-Value Purchase of FV Hospital
Thomson Medical Group’s decision to acquire FV Hospital at a high price, valued at 16.8 times EBITDA, raises eyebrows. The uncertainty surrounding the value of this purchase is a topic of discussion. However, TMG’s expertise in the Women and Children’s Hospital domain could potentially bring much-needed specialization to FV Hospital, enhancing the overall healthcare services offered.
A Step towards Excellence or Medical Tourism Hub?
With TMG’s acquisition of FV Hospital, there is hope that the healthcare sector in Vietnam may be heading towards excellence. The potential focus on specialized areas like Women and Children’s healthcare could improve the overall medical services and attract medical tourists seeking specialized treatments. However, for Vietnam to become a true medical tourism hub, significant investments and improvements across various medical specialties will be required.
Lack of Competition and Infrastructure Impacting Costs
The absence of competition and the limited infrastructure for world-class healthcare providers have been detrimental to the growth and cost-effectiveness of the sector. Vinmec hospitals, backed by Vingroup, have struggled due to the parent company’s focus on other ventures like Vinfast EV cars. The lack of government support for private healthcare has also contributed to the sector’s challenges.
Thomson Medical Group’s purchase of FV Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City holds promising potential for Vietnam’s healthcare sector, particularly for the expat community seeking quality medical services. However, the true impact of this acquisition will depend on TMG’s strategic approach and investments in specialized areas. To truly compete with medical tourism hubs like Singapore and Thailand, Vietnam needs to address infrastructure gaps and promote a supportive environment for private healthcare growth. The road to excellence in healthcare for Vietnam is challenging but achievable with the right vision, strategy, and investments.
Press release : Thomson Medical Group’s Kiat Lim Leads Acquisition of Vietnam’s FV Hospital in Largest Healthcare Deal in SEA since 2020
Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with insights on what’s happening in Vietnam and Asia.