The Dubai Annual Statistical Report 2017 compiled by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), states there were 1,582 overseas patients sent abroad by the health authority in 2017. In 2016, the number of patients sent abroad was 1,994. Over 30% went to Thailand.
According to the Khaleej Times, millions of dirhams were spent on the treatment of overseas Emirati patients even though the number of patients sent abroad in last year was lower as compared to the previous year.
The total expenditure of overseas treatments in 2017 was Dh623 million with an average cost of Dh2.7million per patient. A total of Dh3.45 million was spent per patient in UK, Dh4.24million in Germany and Dh1.17million in USA. In 2016, the total expenditure was also Dh623 million with a slightly higher average spending per patient at Dh3.12 million per patient.
In 2017, Thailand was the most sought-after destination for overseas treatments by the highest proportion of patients (31.5%). In 2016, Germany was the most popular destination with (28.6%) patients seeking treatment. However, in 2017, Germany came at a second place with 21.9% followed by UK at 21.4%.
Oncology treatments were the most sought after (24.2%) of the total overseas patients, changed from neurology in 2016. Neurology and Neurosurgeries was sought by (17.1%) followed by orthopedic, and cardio-surgeries 11.3 and, 6.2%, respectively.
Millions of dirhams are separately being spent by other health authorities such as the Ministry of Health, Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (Haad) and the military, though exact figures were not available.
The number of people escorting patients was higher than the patients themselves. A total of 647 people went to Thailand as escorts, 621 to Germany and 609 to UK.