Oman’s Health Ministry has extended to 5 May the bid deadline for a tender involving the construction of the New Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah.

The scope of work involves the construction of a 700-bed hospital and associated facilities. The five-story building, which will cover an area of 200,000 square metres, will offer adult and paediatric emergency services, physiotherapy, nuclear medicine, dietary services, warehouses, a pharmacy and a laboratory. The original deadline for bids was 21 April.

Oman boosted its healthcare budget in 2014 to RO1.3bn ($3.4bn), as demand has risen for more hospitals in the sultanate. Its population is growing by 2.5 per cent, or 54,000 people, every year. Hospital outpatient visits increased from 9.9 million in 2000 to 12.5 million in 2010.

Last October, Darwish bin Saif bin Said al-Maharbi, undersecretary for finance and administration affairs at the Health Ministry, said more funding is needed to build the requisite number of hospitals in the country.

“We need to build one hospital, or five health centres, every year. Are we doing this? No,” he said at the MEED Oman Projects Forum held in Muscat in 2013.

Life expectancy in Oman increased from 49.3 years in 1970 to 74 years in 2010, which has created new health challenges, he added.