Dubai’s medical tourism plan was approved in April 2014 by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown prince of Dubai. Now, the new changes and strategies are being implemented.
In 2016, Dubai welcomed 326,649 international patients from all over the world, marking a 9.5% increase from 2015. Since the UAE has a lot of expat patients and doctors and medical professionals from 110 different nationalities, healthcare is provided in the client’s’ own language whenever possible.
Why is this plan being introduced?
Dubai wants to strengthen their position in the healthcare industry, particularly in medical tourism. To achieve this goal, they’ve made a 5-year medical tourism plan for 2016-2021. By 2021, Dubai wants to be the top ranked destination for medical tourism and to be globally recognized for their health and wellness treatments. The policies will promote economic development.
Benefits of being a medical tourism hub
Dubai has already reached its target of 500,000 medical tourists a year, according to the Dubai Health Authority. Dubai hosted the International Medical Travel Conference and Exhibition in 2015, with representatives from 84 countries in attendance.
Newly founded Mohammed bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Science works in conjunction with Harvard Medical School. They ensure that Dubai has access to the most progressive treatments, best doctors and professionals.
As the financial target has already been met, medical tourism revenues are estimated to be 20% higher in 2020 than those originally predicted, reaching around Dh 3.12 billion.
Why choose healthcare in Dubai?
Many medical tourists go to Dubai for treatment as they require quick access to doctors and services. If the healthcare system in their country of origin is overloaded and people have to deal with more serious diseases, waiting times can be extensive.
Dubai is well-positioned geographically. It is easy accessible and the visa process is straightforward for residents of many countries. For many treatments, there are short or no waiting lists. The country is also investing in innovative healthcare services and treatments that might mark the difference between life or death for some patients. On top of that, Dubai is the city with the most accredited hospitals.
Mandatory health insurance
Dubai introduced mandatory health insurance for employees on April 1st 2017. The law was passed in 2014 but was not enforced until early April. If a company fails to insure its employees, it can be fined up to Dh500 for each uninsured month. If the uninsured worker needs a visa renewal, this may be denied. The new system should cover 4.3 million people, costing between Dh 550 and Dh 750 per employee, per year.