REUTERS, 23 August 2002.

Hospital Offers Cut-Rate Surgery to Boost Business

Aug 23, 8:59 am ET

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A private hospital in Hong Kong is offering discount packages and fixed prices for some operations in a bid to attract patients during the territory's crushing economic downturn.

"Currently, private hospitals have only six percent share of the market and private hospitals will need to come up with all sort of ways to fight for market share," the Union Hospital said in a statement obtained on Friday.

Most Hong Kong residents balk at seeking treatment at private hospitals, which are notorious for charging astronomical fees that shoot far beyond original estimates.

Under the new offer, circumcisions will be fixed at a price of HK$9,300 (US$1,192). Previously, they ranged from HK$8,660 to HK$18,050.

The prices include surgery fees, consultation, anaesthetic fees and hospitalization. It did not explain why prices had varied so much previously.

(File prepared 24 August 2002)