The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) expects an increase in public-private partnerships in areas such as ambulatory care, home care, long-term stay and day-surgery centres, a top official said on Thursday.
“We expect the private-public partnerships will increase in the next few years, it is one of the key programmes of the new strategy,” said Haidar Al Yousuf, the director of health funding department at DHA.
Despite the slowdown in the global economy, the Dubai government’s investment in health care will increase annually at a steady 10 to 12 per cent, Mr Al Yousuf said.
The 200-bed government funded Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital is expected to open soon, he said.
There are four hospitals run by the Dubai government, 25 private hospitals and two Ministry of Health hospitals in the emirate, besides two primary healthcare centres at Nad Al Hamar and Al Barsha.
The government’s support and commitment to become an internationally recognised location of choice for quality health care and wellness services allowed the health authorities to collaborate with the private sector, said Amitava Ghosal, the chief executive of Al Masah Capital’s Avivo Group, which owns and operates healthcare facilities.
“The introduction of mandatory health insurance policy across UAE gradually will increase the utilisation at public and private facilities that will also attract investments,” he said.
Meanwhile, a report released by the DHA showed that healthcare spending by the Dubai government, employers and households rose by 28 per cent in 2014 from two years earlier.
About Dh12.77 billion was spent on healthcare in 2014, up from Dh10bn in 2012.
The private sector’s share was Dh8.5bn, an increase of 37 per cent from 2012.
However, Dubai residents paid for 25 per cent of the expenses in 2014, up from 22 per cent in 2012, but DHA expects the figure to decrease as mandatory health insurance, introduced in 2014, is implemented fully.
The government’s share of the spend was 33 per cent in 2014, up from 32 per cent in 2012, while employers spent 42 per cent in 2014, down from 45 per cent two years earlier.
This year, the mandatory health insurance is expected to cover more than 95 per cent of Dubai’s population, up from 70 per cent last year, Mr Al Yousuf said.
DHA is on course to meet its 2016 target of introducing regulating health premiums.
It has licensed 45 health insurance companies and 120 brokers.
The agency would also push insurance companies to increasingly cover preventative care. In 2014, the share of preventative care services in attracting the expenditure was 5 per cent.
“As the population gets bigger and older, we want to measure whether the increase in spend is resulting in better outcomes,” Mr Al Yousuf said referring to the latest report. “In 2009, around 20 per cent of the Dubai population was doing exercise, in 2014, only 15 per cent. So, we have to increase the preventative spend to prevent people from getting sicker.”
Also on Thursday, Abu Dhabi-based NMC Healthcare signed a private-public partnership agreement with Dubai Corporation of Ambulance Services that will allow two of its hospitals – NMC Specialty Hospital at Al Nahda and NMC Hospital at Dubai Investment Park – to accept emergency patients.
Currently, if injured people are critically ill they are taken to a private hospital with an emergency department if they have health insurance, or to a government hospital.
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