UAE healthcare sector has started on a major expansion of its capacity, especially in the speciality care space Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Prime Healthcare Group is building a Dh450 million super-speciality hospital in Dubai, and with plans to recruit a 400-plus workforce for the facility. The 120-bed hospital, at Dubai Health Care City Phase 2, is scheduled to open in 2025, and the plan is to launch full-scale staffing requirements in 2024.

What’s quite different about this project is its specialisation in heart, lungs and oncology care, as the UAE’s healthcare sector starts seeing the initial set of new facilities of the post-Covid era. Plus, this is in the space that’s been defined as ‘tertiary care’.

“There are already multiple hospitals that provide secondary care - but post-Covid, the needs of the UAE population are changing as well,” said Dr. Jamil Ahmed, founder and Managing Director of Prime Healthcare Group. “Further investments in primary and secondary healthcare facilities is not the need of the hour - that space is fully saturated.

Our new heart, lungs and cancer treatment facility in Dubai is about creating speciality care in the private sector. This is the message we are getting from the DHA in loud and clear tones.

- Dr. Jamil Ahmed of Prime Healthcare Group

Once open in 2025, the Prime Healthcare facility will provide heart transplant and other intricate treatment/cure in Phase 1 itself. The company has roped in a Canadian consultancy to provide all necessary inputs in shaping the project.

Wave of investments

The UAE healthcare sector is seeing a lot of heightened activity, whether that’s to do with new investments, new alliances, or even in the ways of how the cost of treatment is calculated. Plus, on the medical insurance side, the UAE is moving towards mandatory health cover in all the emirates, currently limited to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Even the local stock markets are seeing healthcare make its debut, with privately-owned Burjeel Holdings in Abu Dhabi’s IPO and subsequent listing on ADX being one of the seminal moments of 2022.

In Abu Dhabi, the likes of Mubadala Health, the ADQ-owned Pure Health, and G42’s healthcare division are redefining the business of care.

Treating ‘complex’ health needs

According to Dr. Ahmed, the medium-term focus from new investments need to be about treating complex needs, whether that’s in cardiology, oncology or the out-of-hospital treatment needs of its population base. “There are lifestyle issues that are behind many of the health issues being encountered today,” he added. “This is where healthcare needs to be provided at many levels - by way of prevention where possible. And in providing access to instant care if prevention cannot be avoided.

“This is why we thought it best to have 3 centres within the same complex we are building at DHCC 2.”

Equity and debt

To fund the project, Prime Healthcare will dig into its own funds and meet the rest through debt. The plan is to maintain a tight control on the project side of things and have the facility ready in 2025.

“Apart from this hospital, the Group will focus on expanding its presence across the UAE and not be limited to one or two emirates,” the MD added. “We will have more of our medical centres located at malls in the UAE - the whole delivery of healthcare services is changing. Along with digital-led tele-health, there is still ample need for offering basic services in newer locations, newer formats.”