Qatar private healthcare spend higher than public

Qatar's healthcare spend is scheduled to grow from QAR15.4bn ($4.2bn) in 2016 to QAR27.1bn ($7.4bn) in 2026, according to BMI, a Fitch company

Qatar's healthcare spend is scheduled to grow from QAR15.4bn ($4.2bn) in 2016 to QAR27.1bn ($7.4bn) in 2026, according to BMI, a Fitch company.
Qatar's healthcare spend is scheduled to grow from QAR15.4bn ($4.2bn) in 2016 to QAR27.1bn ($7.4bn) in 2026, according to BMI, a Fitch company.

The next decade will see Qatar's private healthcare expenditure grow at 8.8% faster than the 5.8% in public healthcare.

This information comes from BMI, a Fitch company, which points out that this growth offers plentiful opportunities especially for global drug manufacturers.

The report highlighted that the healthcare spend in Qatar is scheduled to grow from QAR15.4bn ($4.2bn) in 2016 to QAR27.1bn ($7.4bn) in 2026, stating: “this is a moderate 10-year CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5.8% in local currency and US dollar terms”.

As healthcare costs increase rapidly for an ageing population, coupled with a rising chronic disease problem, the almost-free medical services will be increasingly seen as “unsustainable”, resulting in private sector engagement to share some of the financial burden, it said.

Qatar's public expenditure was about 84% of overall health expenditure in 2016.

Considering that the government is assigning some of the health and education projects to the private sector, BMI said: “We forecast private healthcare expenditure in Qatar to grow at a faster 10-year CAGR of 8 .8% in local currency and US dollar terms, at which point the private sector will account for around 20% of total health expenditure in the country - up from 15% in 20 16."

The report anticipated that the growth in healthcare spend is expected to outperform gross domestic product growth over the projected period, indicating Qatar’s increased focus on healthcare sector development and the increasing demand for medical treatment.

“Over the long term, in line with improving healthcare access in Qatar, this will provide greater revenue-earning opportunities for multinational pharmaceutical companies,” it said, adding other beneficiaries would include medical devices and infrastructure businesses, chiefly those focusing on the construction of healthcare associated projects.

While numerous planned health infrastructure projects are due to proceed, BMI nonetheless pointed out that there is a “moderate risk” of them being beset by delays as the focus remains “skewed” towards Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Nevertheless, the population’s access to healthcare would not be “significantly” affected by the delays, it added.

Noting that Qatar's 2017 budget includes a provision of QAR24.5bn ($6.6bn) for the healthcare sector – 12.3% of the total allocation – BMI said it signifies a minor increase on 2016 when the budget was QAR20.9bn ($5.7bn), 10% of total expenditure.

“While this allocation appears relatively low compared to major infrastructure projects for areas including transport, capital investment in primary health services remains high on the government's agenda,” it said, emphasising planned healthcare capital projects as the expansion of facilities at Hamad General Hospital; the completion of Sidra Medical and Research Center; the construction of new health centres at Al Karaana, Al Rawda, Al Ghuwariyah, Al Muntazah, Al Naeem and Umm Salal, in addition to health centres presently under construction at Qatar University.

"We believe the Qatari government's commitment to healthcare underlines its ambition to maintain social stability in the country,” BMI said.

The Supreme Council of Health developed a 20-year blueprint (2013-33) for improving healthcare across the country, as part of the country's National Health Strategy.

The Qatar Health Facilities Master Plan will comprise a significant element of this strategy, accountable for the planning and delivery of new health infrastructure projects, it added.

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