More internationally accredited hospitals planned for Saudi

The government’s healthcare plan under the National Transformation Program (NTP), an economic action plan put in place as part of Vision 2030, has placed the healthcare sector on a fast trajectory to privatisation and growth over the coming years. The plan includes growing the number of licensed medical facilities from 40 to 100, and increasing the number of internationally accredited hospitals.

Healthcare remains a top priority for the government of Saudi Arabia as it explores private sector involvement in the development of healthcare infrastructure.
Saudi Arabia’s healthcare sector holds the third largest share of its 2019 budget with 15.6%. The budget allocation for the sector has grown by 8% to reach R172bn (US$45.9) this year.

According to the 2019 Saudi Arabia Healthcare Industry Overview report from the Global Health Exhibition, privatisation of government services is expected to help meet the goals set out in the Vision 2030 development plan to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40% to 65% in 2030.

Privatisation of one of the medical cities through a PPP scheme and increasing private sector share of spending in healthcare through alternative financing methods and service providers is one of several strategic objectives stated for healthcare in the NTP.

Other NTP targets for the Ministry of Health for 2020 include increasing private healthcare expenditure from 25% to 35% of total healthcare expenditure, increasing the number of licensed medical facilities from 40 to 100, increasing the number of internationally accredited hospitals, and increasing focus on digital healthcare innovations.

Increasing the availability of a skilled workforce in healthcare is also emerging as a significant focus for Saudi Arabia. Major efforts are underway to provide educational and training facilities for doctors, nurses and paramedics through the expansion of new medical colleges.