Following the success of Global Healthcare Issues we’re pleased to bring you the third installment in our new series - Global Healthcare Sectors.
In this exclusive series we will guide you through the structure behind the healthcare sectors we most frequently deal with. We’ll look at the private and public sectors, what positions are especially in demand, the funding models, and how to go about successfully securing a move.
In part three of this series we’ll look at one of the world’s wealthiest countries, a country that has sensibly planned its development to ensure it’s never overrun - Qatar.
Qatar is not only the world’s richest country at the moment, it’s also one of the most desirable for medics. A modern, expanding healthcare sector that values its staff, generous salary packages and a luxurious standard of living all combine to make it a highly attractive location to call home.
Where am I likely to work?
Compared to many of its neighbours Qatar is a tiny country, just 11,571km2 (making it a similar size to Jamaica and Cyprus). As a result working and living in different parts of the country shouldn’t be a major issue.
An estimated 800,000 of the country’s 2.1 million population live in the capital, Doha, a stunning modern metropolis that is also home to most of the major hospitals. As a Western trained medic moving to the country this is more than likely where you’ll be working.
Doha is flanked by a range of suburbs where the majority of expats call home. These can range in style and price range, so it’s always best to visit first in order to decide where would suit you. Pearl and West Bay are the two most expensive, sought after and high class areas in the country. Accommodation here will be far from cheap, however the stunning surroundings can make it a highly enjoyable place to call home.
Al Waab and Abu Hamour are the most popular locations with expats, they are cheaper than the first two areas, and provide a pleasant suburban environment - near to local schools and shopping malls making them ideal for those with a family.
What Sector will I be working in?
A clear answer is difficult to provide. The state healthcare system runs five hospitals and 24 primary care facilities. These are supported by an increasingly large private sector within the country. Their facilities can provide a higher standard of care, modern technology and shorter waiting times than the public system - to help ease any potential strain.
Both systems are very much built on the expat community. Native Qataris make up just 12% of the country's total population, and just 10% of doctors and surgeons in the country are nationals - the potential for employment within the location’s healthcare sector therefore is very realistic indeed.
Overall it’s difficult to specify where you will be working - growth in the private sector is making it a more likely destination, however it just depends on your luck at the time.
How Generous is Healthcare Spending?
Very. The healthcare system within the country is the most generously funded in the whole Gulf region - with $5.2bn spent in 2015 alone - and this funding level is only going to increase courtesy of plans to drive spending up to $8.8bn by 2020.
All Qatari citizens are covered by the National Insurance Healthcare scheme, whilst the expat community will have insurance and cover provided by their employers.
Working hours and conditions within both Qatar’s public and private healthcare systems are amongst the best in the world. All hospitals are modern and equipped with the most up to date technology. Further to this the generous funding received by the state systems, and the premium paid by users of the private facilities, ensure that the system is well staffed and workloads are manageable for all medics.
Thanks to the higher staffing levels and a desire to provide a healthy work/life balance, working hours for medics are lower than they are in the NHS. As well as this a range of benefits are included within the salary package to help those working within the healthcare industry feel truly valued.
Hopes of a better lifestyle are not the main reason that many people move to the Middle East however. The impressive tax free salaries and luxurious lifestyles convince plenty of people to move to the Gulf and, as one of the world’s richest countries, a move to Qatar could be a very financially rewarding one indeed.
Salaries in Qatar are entirely tax free, and most hospitals will include housing (or at the very least a housing allowance) as part of their salary package. This can be supplemented by a transport allowance to cover the cost of buying or renting a car, along with flights to and from your home country at the beginning and end of your contract.
Senior members of staff within hospitals can also benefit from up to 50 days paid leave every year, and generous end of service awards when they elect to leave. Commonly this is a month's salary for every year you have spent working within the country at that hospital or clinic.
Some hospitals will offer more senior medics return flights to their homeland to use during annual leave, and this along with a salary of up to 35,000QR (£7000) a month can make the country a very financially beneficial one to move to.
Having the cost of accommodation and travel covered by your employer leaves your tax free salary to cover the cost of food, other essential items and fuel for your car - petrol is just 31 pence a litre on average - and this leaves most people with a very comfortable amount of disposable income.
Naturally however there is a drawback, and these high wages are reflected in a high cost of living. Almost all basic grocery items are imported into the country and, as a result, they can be up to 60% more expensive.
Despite the fact the cost of living is higher than many cities it is thought to be on a par with central London. Fuel prices are dramatically lower and the incentives provided by employers ensure that medics should never feel undervalued.
If you want to work in a well funded, financially rewarding environment, then there can be few places on earth as appealing as Qatar.
What Will I Need?
If a move to the country is something which you would seriously consider, then it could be time to work out how realistic the dream could be.
There can be fierce competition for medical roles in the country, and so you will need a high standard of Western qualification (with British, American, Canadian or German the most sought after).
As well as this most private hospitals and clinics will request that you have your CCT as well as up to date qualifications in your specialist area. Five years of experience is normally the minimum accepted, though this can be flexible, and hospitals like medics who have stayed in a role for more than a few years. This can make it difficult for locums to secure employment.
Some knowledge of Arabic would go a long way to securing a job, whilst experience in neighbouring Gulf locations would also be considered a further boost.
Who is Especially in Demand?
Qatar is blighted by many of the issues that affect the wider Gulf region. The country has been labelled ‘the fattest on earth’ by some reports, and this is reflected in the high rate of lifestyle related diseases.
That means that roles for Cardiologists and Endocrinologist are fairly widespread, whilst higher than average smoking rates will see the number of roles for Pulmonologists rise.
Aside from lifestyle related conditions the country’s growing working age population has resulted in a large number of children. This opens up roles for Paediatricians and those working in Family Medicine or General Practice.
Regardless of your specialty there’s likely to be a role in Qatar that will suit you, sometimes patience is simply the key. To start your journey to the country today simply register on our website for job alerts - that dream role could be closer than you might imagine.