Deloitte calls for more private sector involvement in GCC health

The growing gap between healthcare services supply and demand in GCC states could be addressed by more private sector participation, Deloitte says in a new report published today.

“Unequal access to health care facilities and a continued shortage of health care professionals across the Middle East illustrate the region’s need for more private sector involvement to fill the gap between increasing needs and available capacity,” partner in charge for Consulting at Deloitte Middle East Julian Hawkins said in a statement issued by Deloitte. “Governments are responding to this imperative by introducing programs and incentives to encourage private sector growth, optimize current operations, and leverage technology to raise the quality of health care services in GCC countries”.

“GCC countries depend heavily on government funding to meet health care needs. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the government accounted for 65.8 percent of health care spending in 2012, according to the World Health Organization (WHO),” Hawkins said.

The Deloitte report also finds that health care, education, and social services continue to be priorities in the UAE’s federal budget. In terms of health care, UAE nationals are covered under the government-funded health care program, whilst expatriates have to pay for private health care insurance. Although, the UAE government is encouraging more private participation in the sector, it will likely continue to finance the bulk of health care spending in the near term.