However, an acute shortage of nurses could hold back the state from fulfilling its potential as a medical tourism hub. 

Obstetrician Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar doing surgery at Gleneagles Medini Hospital. (Photo: Gleneagles Medini Hospital)

JOHOR BAHRU: When restaurant owner Jason Grantino tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) last September while playing basketball, one of the first things the Batam resident did was to book ferry tickets to Johor.  

In spite of the pain on his left knee, the 32-year-old Indonesian moved through the ferry terminals in a wheelchair and sat through a 90-minute boat journey from Batam to Stulang Laut in Johor Bahru.

Mr Grantino was headed for Regency Specialist Hospital, a private healthcare facility near Pasir Gudang where he had been to multiple times for his annual check-ups. 

The hospital sent a bus to pick him up at the ferry terminal and by the following day, the ACL reconstruction procedure ...