Over the next four years, more than 41,000 new hospital beds will be needed in Saudi Arabia to cope with the escalating demand from the fast growing population of the country. With more that $ 18 billion committed to Saudi’s healthcare construction over the next five years; the industry insiders are questioning whether new hospitals and other healthcare facilities can be delivered quickly enough.
The commitment includes the construction and equipping of primary healthcare centers, the building of 120 new hospitals and the upgrade of four existing hospitals. A National Commercial Bank report states, hospital beds-to-population ratio over the past 10 years had declined to 2.2 beds per 1,000 citizens by the year 2009. To achieve the required ratio of 3.5 beds per 1,000 people by 2014 will require an additional 41,600 hospital beds, almost doubling the current number of 55,000.
Saudi Arabia, The Gulf’s largest economy and fastest growing population, will face a sharp increase in healthcare demand over the next decade and beyond. Various factors such as high birth rates, increasing rates of non-communicable diseases including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and other obesity- related illnesses will add pressure on healthcare services, said Nour Soliman, summit director, IQPC, organizer of Saudi Construction Summit.
“To speed up the Saudi Arabian healthcare sector development and meet the Saudi nationals’ health needs without adversely affecting economic progress, it has become imperative to increase private sector participation in these expansion plans,” added Soliman.