Press releases

Increasing health care spending in GCC countries

Press release

-Deloitte: Saudi Arabia spends 4.3% of GDP on health care

-Deloitte: Health care delivery in the Middle East is dominated by the public sector


4 March, 2014 – According to Deloitte’s new report, “Global health care outlook: Shared challenges, shared opportunities”, a growing and aging population coupled with  increasing total health care expenditures per capita, are boosting  health care industry growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — specifically  in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, continued pressures on cost, lack of access to medical care, and market conditions will present serious health care industry challenges in 2014. Additionally, the sector will need to engage public and private organizations on the health care value chain to deliver innovative solutions to address local needs if it wants to succeed in addressing emerging market growth and the world’s aging population challenges in the coming years.

The Deloitte report examines the current state of the global and regional health care sector, and provides a snapshot of activity in a number of geographic markets, including Saudi Arabia. The report further suggests considerations for stakeholders as they address funding, cost, and other issues while seeking to grow revenue and market share in 2014 and beyond.

The GCC’s population is expected to increase by five percent year-on-year, driven mainly by the influx of expatriates. While the dominant age group is estimated to be 30-44 year olds, the 45-65 and 65+ age groups are expected to grow cumulatively by an average of four to five percent between 2011 and 2020. Among other favorable trends in the region are continually improving health care standards; governments’ increasing investments in technological advancements and health awareness; the growth of smaller health care clinics and ambulatory centers; and a strong medical tourism industry.

“Saudi Arabia provides a snapshot of GCC health care challenges and opportunities. Its spending of 4.3 percent of GDP is less than half of the OECD average. However, health care provision in Saudi Arabia is uneven. It is concentrated in urban centers and some desert communities do not have regular and reliable access to good-quality health care,” explains Dr Hassib Jaber, consulting partner and health care and life sciences leader at Deloitte Middle East. “The government is trying to address this imbalance and has identified investment in health care infrastructure as a priority.”

Moreover, health care delivery in the Middle East is dominated by the public sector. A key challenge facing the region’s governments is to provide a framework that enables the private sector to participate more fully in the health care system and supplement state systems that are heavily dependent on fluctuating oil revenues.

“Increased private sector participation should help the region achieve its overall goal to improve access and quality; however, creating such a framework is likely to require policy changes, industry restructuring, and new incentives. Adding complexity, the Middle East has a significant shortage of local health care talent, as numbers indicate the dominance of expat communities in both the nursing and physician professions,” concludes Jaber.

To read the “Global health care outlook: Shared challenges, shared opportunities” report, go to:

Press contact
Nadine El Hassan
Middle East Public Relations
Deloitte & Touche (M.E.)
Tel: +961 (0) 1 748444
Fax: +961 (0) 1 748999


Click here to download for the Arabic pdf version

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities.  DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients.  Please see About Deloitte for a more detailed description of DTTL and its member firms.  

Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte’s more than 200,000 professionals are committed to becoming the standard of excellence.

About Deloitte & Touche (M.E.)

Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) is a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and is the first Arab professional services firm established in the Middle East region with uninterrupted presence since 1926.

Deloitte is among the region’s leading professional services firms, providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through 26 offices in 15 countries with more than 3,000 partners, directors and staff. It is a Tier 1 Tax advisor in the GCC region since 2010 (according to the International Tax Review World Tax Rankings). It has received numerous awards in the last few years which include Best Employer in the Middle East, best consulting firm, and the Middle East Training & Development Excellence Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

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