Chronic underinvestment with reactive over expenditure is how the latest Saudi Arabian health care boom is being described. Saudi Arabia, in which historically over 70% of the health care has been state provided, has decided to invest in healthcare.
The healthcare sector has long been constrained by government inefficiency and bureaucracy and remained underdeveloped whilst other sectors like retail, housing and travel boomed.
Now the mediocre state of health care has become a political liability with the public severely dissatisfied with the quality of services. To have an idea about the present state of Saudi healthcare, bed ratios are 2.2 per 1000 population compared to a world average of 3 per 1000 and 5.5 per 1000 in developed countries.
The Saudi Government has increased budget allocations for healthcare, incentivised private providers with interest free loans and changed health insurance regulations.
Several health care provider companies have successfully floated their stock gaining finance to fuel rapid expansion. Sulaiman Al Habib and Almana Hospitals are making public offerings and Dallah has already done so.