The healthcare sector in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states has witnessed an extended period of high growth and is forecasted to continue to grow, driven by the existing supply and demand gap.

Healthcare indicators such as bed density, doctor density and nurse density in the region currently lag behind those found in developed economies. For example, the average number of beds per 1,000 people in the GCC was 1.8 in 2012, compared with 3 or more in Singapore, the UK and the US, and more than 8 in Germany.

Additionally, average regional healthcare expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at 3 per cent, compared with 9.3 per cent in the UK and more than 15 per cent in the USA. This is despite the significant increase in healthcare expenditure, in real terms, across the region over the past few years.

A significant paradigm shift in healthcare delivery is taking hold in the GCC. This new strategy involves a shift towards a more patient-centric delivery model in contrast to the previous hospital-centric model. This is a result of the region’s regulators adopting a more ‘patient first’ approach.

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