'Healthy' role for private sector needed
Dubai, March 4, 2014
GCC governments should provide a new framework that enables increased private sector participation in the healthcare system, thereby improving the access and quality of healthcare delivery in the region, a study said.
Deloitte’s new report ‘Global health care outlook: Shared challenges, shared opportunities’ pointed out that this would supplement state systems that are heavily dependent on fluctuating oil revenues.
A growing and aging population, coupled with increasing total health care expenditures per capita, are boosting health care industry growth in the GCC, it said.
The GCC’s population is expected to increase by five per cent year-on-year. While the dominant age group is estimated to be 30 to 44 year olds, the 45 to 65 and 65+ age groups are expected to grow cumulatively by an average of four to five per cent between 2011 and 2020, it said.
“Increased private sector participation should help the region achieve its overall goal to improve access and quality; however, creating such a framework is likely to require policy changes, industry restructuring, and new incentives,” said Dr Hassib Jaber, consulting partner and healthcare and life sciences leader, Deloitte Middle East.
“Adding complexity, the Middle East has a significant shortage of local health care talent, as numbers indicate the dominance of expat communities in both the nursing and physician professions,” he said.
Other favourable trends in the region include continually improving health care standards; governments’ increasing investments in technological advancements and health awareness; the growth of smaller health care clinics and ambulatory centres; and a strong medical tourism industry, said the report.
“Saudi Arabia provides a snapshot of GCC health care challenges and opportunities. Its spending of 4.3 per cent of GDP is less than half of the OECD average,” said Dr Jaber.
“However, health care provision in Saudi Arabia is uneven. It is concentrated in urban centres and some desert communities do not have regular and reliable access to good-quality health care,” he said.
“The government is trying to address this imbalance and has identified investment in health care infrastructure as a priority,” he added.
The report said the continued pressures on cost, lack of access to medical care and market conditions will present serious health care industry challenges worldwide this year.
The sector will need to engage public and private organisations on the health care value chain to deliver innovative solutions to address local needs if it wants to succeed in addressing emerging market growth and the world’s aging population challenges in the coming years, it said.
The report examined the current state of the global and regional health care sector, and provided a snapshot of activity in a number of geographic markets.
It also suggested considerations for stakeholders as they address funding, cost, and other issues while seeking to grow revenue and market share in 2014 and beyond. - TradeArabia News Service