A Day at the Hospital – in Penang

“A Day at the Races”, “A Night at the Opera”, sprang to mind – but this was less fun than a Marx Brothers’ film.

Malaysia is noted for its good health care at reasonable prices.  Today I found myself in need of them due to a lung infection which makes me cough, and lower back pain which is exacerbated by the cough.

At 7.30AM I called our health insurance agent for advice, and she made afternoon appointments in the hospital with two doctors, one whose specialty covered each problem.  Then she picked me up and took me to the hospital in time for the first appointment.

Initially I had to register on the ground floor, but they still had my details from five years ago when we visited the hospital for the compulsory government checkup for the MM2H visa, so all I needed to do was give my current address. We were given a queue number for each doctor.

Then we went to the first doctor’s rooms and waited outside until it was my turn.  The doctor recommended an X-Ray, and I talked to him about radiation, which he said now is very low.  So a nurse accompanied me with my files down to the X-Ray department, where soon I was X-rayed.  I could talk to the doctor about the results  in about an hour.

The doctor discussed the results, and told me what medicines he would prescribe.

The it was time to wait for the next doctor.  He also wanted an X-Ray, but from a different angle.  Back to the X-Ray department, and after a few minutes I had another X-Ray. After it was taken I headed back to the doctor, and he discussed the results and told me what medicine I would be prescribed.

Finally I went to the accounts department to pay the bill, and then receive my medications.  All up, RM535. Our agent was with me for much of the day, and helped by finding out information for me. She drove me home after.

so many medicines!!!

Here is the itemised bill:

Doctor 1:
Medicines                        111.60
Miscellaneous                     8
X-Ray                                   42
Consultation fee              80

Doctor 2:
Medicines                       101.80
Miscellaneous                    8
X-Ray x 2                          84
Consultation fee          100

I have managed largely to avoid hospitals until now, so it’s hard for me to compare. However, my comments: The doctors were professional and friendly, as were the nurses, and waiting times were not too long.  My only complaint was that the chairs in the cafe were not comfortable to sit in with my back condition.

By the way, had I gone to a local doctor’s clinic, the consultation would have cost about RM35, but of course he doesn’t have X-Ray equipment, so to get X-Rays, their results, and then to see the doctor again to discuss the results would have taken a day or two I suppose.  I was in a lot of pain, so I wanted to start recovery as soon as possible, and thus the hospital was the best choice.


  1. It’s amazing that your health insurance agent made an appointment and picked you up and droped you off. What kind of insurance do you have and how much dose it cost? I’m sure that a lot of people like to know. How do I contact you when I move there in near future. I really enjoy reading your blog.

    1. Yes, I was also amazed. It is hospital insurance, but I won’t be claiming on the insurance as I wasn’t admitted to hospital. I could have been, but I didn’t really need to be, and I didn’t want to. Sometimes it is better to be admitted as then you can claim, but in this case the net cost was similar whether I was admitted or not. Cost of insurance is mostly dependent on age, but for me about RM3,000 per year. If you tell me your email address I will email you. Thanks for reading.

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