Fewer Patients Leaving UAE for Medical Care


Fraser Clarke

Fewer patients are leaving the UAE for medical care, whilst the number of health tourists visiting the country continues to rise.

Those were the major findings from Dubai Health Authority’s 2017 annual statistical report, which illustrated a positive future for healthcare in the Emirates - with the drop in the global oil price not having as big an impact on the sector as initially feared.

Treating Emirati patients with complex needs at home has been a long-term aim of the country, and with just over 1,500 people now heading abroad annually, health leaders look to have been successful in addressing the skills shortage forcing locals to look elsewhere.

The average cost per patient receiving care overseas has also dropped substantially, from Dh3.12m (£660,000) to Dh2.7m (£570,000).

Almost a quarter of those leaving the Emirates for medical care were looking for greater Oncology services, with Neurology the second most popular speciality.

That wasn’t the only good news for the area in the report however, with medical tourists now contributing Dh1bn (£212m) to the economy.

The UAE is now also on target to treat 500,000 medical tourists by 2020, with people now heading to the Emirates from all over the world.

Estimates suggest that reaching that target could be worth more than Dh2.6bn annually to the country - a figure that is expected to grow by 13% each year.

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