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Boost in Medical Tourism Should Bring AED6.1 billion to the UAE By Close of the Year

UAE : 09 August 2010

Medical tourism in the UAE is expected to climb to Dh6.1 billion by the close 2010, as stated by medical tourism experts who quote an increase of 7 per cent over the same data for 2009.  The last six months of this year are expected to grow a full 13 per cent over the recorded amount for the second half of 2009.

These stats are another confirmation that the UAE has been raised to the top of the area’s medical tourism sector, caused by things like flexible patient rights, versatile and quality healthcare delivered over a wide range of cases, well known global medical conferences being held locally, humanitarian projects being launched and healthcare infrastructure getting stronger due to a selection of modernized, state of the art therapy and medical centres set to be opened.  There are many strengthening partnerships throughout the healthcare sector that also support the system and bump up their share of the GDP.

Healthcare in the UAE was praised by Mohammad Rashid Al Falasi, who commented that the treatment rates are below those of international facilities, while the UAE facilities deliver better diagnostic, rehabilitation and curative care than those same centres overseas.  Al Falasi, who is the chairman of the Canadian Specialist Hospital (CSH), stated that centres such as the CSH have exceptionally high levels of medical treatment that are a result of the advanced development and the simple, positive and leading healthcare regulations associated with international patients being treated in the UAE .

Al Falasi noted that over 1,500 patients make their way to the CSH from the United States every month.  Also the CSH has been given authorization by the Ministry of Health to have entry visas issued (for medical purposes).  This premier privilege has been used to admit and treat Iraqis and Nigerian maternity patients.  The hospital boasts ultra-modern, high tech equipment and services and will only use drugs approved by the US FDA.

The overall aim is that these facilities would draw in patients and help cut the amount that UAE citizens are spending on international healthcare, which was thought to reach AED 25.7 billion annually from the governments and AED 50 billion annually from UAE nationals.  This pattern would increase job creation for those citizens and bring in foreign investment, added Al Falasi.

The experts are attributing the jump in UAE’s medical tourism sector to the growth that the sector has seen across the globe.  Total traffic for medical tourism around the world is estimated to land in the range of 38 to 40 million patients in the past three years, generating revenues of more than AED 240 billion.  That value is projected to reach AED 350 billion by 2015.  In the Gulf, the UAE is at the top of this sector with 4.3 million visitors (including both patients and their traveling partners) coming in for medical purposes in 2010.  Also, many of those residing in the UAE are opting for local healthcare over what is offered elsewhere, based on the advantages that the UAE system has such as competitive services, advanced bookings, low rates when compared with international ones and the massive tourism projects focusing on the medical tourism industry.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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