The healthcare sector in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states is projected to grow further driven by rapid growth of populations coupled with rising life expectancies and higher individual income, a new report reveals.
Among other prime drivers of the healthcare industry growth are major medical infrastructure ventures and high incidence of lifestyle-related diseases, Deloitte’s newly released report, “2015 global health care outlook: Common goals, competing priorities” says.
However, the report notes the available medical capacity is under pressure, and bridging the gap between current and targeted states is a top challenge in 2015 despite the region’s endeavours to advance the healthcare domain.
The report cites Saudi Arabia as an example where government spending on the healthcare sector reached 65.8 per cent of the total market spending and that underlines the need for more participation by the private sector in his industry.
In order to cater for a growing demand on medical services by nationals and pilgrims, the Saudi government set aside $28.8 billion for health and social welfare in the 2014 budget.
The same applies in the UAE where government money will likely remain the key source of funding for the healthcare sector in the near term.
However, the UAE government is encouraging the private sector to expand its involvement in the healthcare industry.
Moreover, most of those working in the medical field are expatriates, the report says.
“Unequal access to health care facilities and a continued shortage of health care professionals across the Middle East illustrate the region’s need for more private sector involvement to fill the gap between increasing needs and available capacity,” explains Julian Hawkins, partner in charge for Consulting at Deloitte Middle East.