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Tue 29 Sep 2009 07:10 AM

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GCC healthcare sector worth $55bn by 2020

New research predicts annual growth of 9%, driven by rise in lifestyle diseases.

The GCC healthcare sector is predicted to grow by nine percent annually and will be worth up to $55bn by 2020, according to new research published on Monday.

GCC countries are likely to experience a sharp increase in healthcare needs primarily led by a growing and ageing population and a rise in chronic non-communicable "lifestyle" diseases, said Tommy Trask, executive director and head of Equity Research services at Alpen Capital.

The investment bank's report said all countries in the Gulf region were on track with sufficient hospital facilities to meet future demand, apart from Oman.

"The GCC healthcare sector is on a growth trajectory. The industry is poised for unparallel and consistent growth accompanied by a fundamental shift in the industry structure, infrastructure quality, payer model and funding options," added Trask.

He said the GCC hospital project pipeline was very significant.

"Assuming announced healthcare projects are delivered on time, we see a sufficient supply of hospital beds in all GCC countries, except Oman, to meet the expectation of strong growth in demand," he added.

The report added that the UAE and Qatar have the most ambitious pipelines as measured by the number of hospital beds per capita and were banking on medical tourism from within and outside the GCC countries to maintain adequate hospital occupancy rates across the industry.

According to Alpen Capital, the region’s endeavours in setting up integrated healthcare facilities in the form of healthcare cities and medical hubs, coupled with continuous improvement in technology and infrastructure, will significantly improve the availability and quality of healthcare services in the region.

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