Healthcare spending in the GCC is expected to reach $135.5 billion in 2027, increasing by 5.4% per year from 2022, with the UAE seeing the highest growth at 7.4% per year, according to new research from financial advisory firm Alpen Capital.
An increase in aging population, improving economic activity, focus on preventative healthcare and mandatory health insurance will contribute to the growth in healthcare spending, Alpen Capital said.
“While digitisation and public-private collaborations have made a progressive impact, the resurgence in demand for elective surgeries, a burgeoning medical tourism industry, and an intrinsic demand for treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are likely to support growth,” said Sameena Ahmad, managing director, Alpen Capital (ME).
Healthcare expenditure had seen a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% between 2020 and 2022, when the healthcare sector was primarily combating the pandemic, recording high growth in inpatient and outpatient levels.
The UAE is likely to witness the highest CAGR of 7.4% compared to its GCC peers in anticipation of a fast-growing population, increased and wider coverage of mandatory health insurance and high medical inflation rate.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE will account for 79.6% of healthcare expenditure in 2027, the Alpen report added.
Healthcare expenditure in Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait is expected to have CAGRs of 5.1%, 6.1%, 4.7% and 4.4% respectively.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are likely to witness a demand for over 8,197 and 1,584 new hospital beds. All other states will see demand for new beds, except Qatar, where it is expected to remain flat amid lower than average population growth, the report said.
(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)