The UAE leadership placed high importance on the role of healthcare over the next five years. The UAE Vision
2021 National Agenda seeks to establish a world-class healthcare system and has emphasised the role of preventive medicine in the reduction of lifestyle-related diseases. This goal is significant. The OECD’s Health Statistics 2017 show Mena has 1.9 hospital beds for every 1,000 people, compared to an OECD average of 4.8 beds.

A recent JLL study on Mena Healthcare found that even to maintain the number of hospital beds per capita over the next five years, an additional 10,500 places were needed in the region’s major cities. They equate this to an extra 70 hospitals across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo.

Combined with ageing populations, this means demand for quality healthcare has increased strongly and will continue to do so over the next five years.

The focus on p r e v e n t a t i v e medicine, specialist services and integrated healthcare solutions will lead to an increase in the value of the UAE healthcare market from Dh64 billion to more than Dh103 billion by 2021, according to a Mena Research Partners report from March 2017.

Dr Stephen Brookes, Programme Director at the University of Manchester’s Middle East Centre Dubai, told Education Now! by email that the Middle East healthcare needs to develop strong leaders to meet these challenges.

“The Middle East healthcare sector is vibrant and active and continues to attract investment as private and public sector investors build the new capacity needed to serve a growing population of citizens and residents and international healthcare tourists,” says Dr Brookes.

According to Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, some of the careers open to its Master of Science in Hospital Management graduates include managing hospitals, nursing units, clinics, hospital operations and inventories. They could also choose to be a healthcare consultant or patient relationship manager.

Divya Nair, Admissions Manager at Westford School of Management, told Education Now! the future looks very bright for healthcare administrators in the region. “Since the UAE envisions featuring among the leading countries in the world in term of quality healthcare by 2021, opportunities in the industry are expected to grow manifold,” says Nair.

“Subject to experience in healthcare sector qualified professionals can look at a remuneration hike of between 25 per cent and 40 per cent.” The UAE’s focus on healthcare reflects the global shift in priorities too. Patients are more tech-savvy and becoming increasingly demanding about treatment options and alternatives.

“Given the global nature of healthcare leadership, leaders need to adapt to changing markets and the potential for change in a complex and uncertain world,” says Dr Brookes. His advice is that upskilling will be essential for all leaders in the field, and a strong focus on patient led care.

“Leaders who are unable to do this will remain rooted in the traditional form of leadership facing difficulties currently associated with cost, quality and access, with patients isolated from the leadership decisions and practices,” says Dr Brookes.

“The concept of the patient as leader is starting to emerge.”