A recent report published by the Ministry of Economy and Planning in Saudi Arabia has stated that the Kingdom is grossly understaffed medically and that a further 30,000 medical workers will need to be hired urgently.
The Makkah Daily newspaper has published the key findings and recommendations of the report which claims that the recent MERS (Middle East Respiratory Virus) outbreak exposed the major deficiencies in the healthcare system which left it unable to deal effectively with the virus outbreak which started in 2012 and has killed 700 people to date.
The report recommends a further 10,000 doctors and 20,000 nurses are essential to the effective running of the health care system as well as an additional 3,000 primary healthcare centres.
Several studies have discussed the weaknesses of the Saudi healthcare system which has the lowest ratios of hospital beds and medical staff per head of population in the Gulf region. The system remains highly centralised with the Ministry of Health overseeing all aspects of healthcare and 70-80% of healthcare publically funded.
The Saudi Government is taking steps to address this with incentives offered for private investment and a massive hospital construction project.