Dubai's healthcare sector saw ample growth due to initiatives like investor-friendly environment, establishing a healthcare free zone and introducing mandatory insurance, according to a recent report.
Over the last five years, the knock-on effect of these changes has led to a huge growth, such as the number of hospital beds increasing from 1,448 in 2012 to 2,434 beds in 2016.
The healthcare contribution has shifted to the private sector from 41 per cent to 53 per cent over the same period, according to the Knight Frank's Hub Report which focuses on benchmarking Dubai against the seven other key global cities, across key sectors - healthcare, manufacturing and logistics, business and financial services, tourism and education.
There is an increase in demand for healthcare services over the past 10 years, spurred by population growth, increase incidence of lifestyle-related medical conditions and medical tourism. Shehzad Jamal, partner development consulting, healthcare and education, said: "The market is becoming increasingly sophisticated and speciality driven due to better awareness of the domestic market and medical tourism demand. So we are seeing a shift in demand from general to speciality hospitals, such as for orthopaedic, long-term care facilities and mother and child.
"Prominent examples of such facilities are Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery and Medcare Women and Child Specialist Hospital," he said.
Comparing Dubai's number of beds per 1,000 population with developed countries (especially those that have a strong medical tourism focus such as Singapore, UK and USA), there is significant potential for growth. The outlook is that market demand will continue to grow and migrate towards more specialist healthcare facilities.
Dr Gireesh, senior manager development consulting, Healthcare, said: "There remains a dearth in preventive healthcare services catering to the growing number of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension, and associated co-morbidities such as renal and cardiovascular diseases." He said patients' awareness has increased over the years with more availability of information and smart healthcare systems such as smartwatches and applications.
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