High Medical Bills Leave UAE Residents Queasy

High Medical Bills Leave UAE Residents Queasy

The healthcare sector in the UAE has witnessed extraordinary growth and progress over the past few years. The government has made it a priority to attract prestigious private healthcare players to the UAE. However, regardless of all the emphasis on healthcare development there are some limitations to the growth of this sector. It is well-known that a large proportion of the specialized healthcare is made up of passing foreign workers and that the UAE is in close proximity to competitive medical destinations such as India and Jordan.

YouGov surveyed 1008 respondents in the UAE using the YouGov Omnibus between the 7th- 14th of November 2012 in order to understand their attitudes towards the healthcare industry and what they see as the significant challenges limiting development.

  • 61% of respondents claim that they are not satisfied with the treatment costs
  • 60% of respondents see the high prices of medical care as a substantial challenge for the healthcare industry.
  • 58% of respondents say they would choose to seek medical treatment abroad if they were to fall seriously ill.

Overall, it is apparent that the majority of respondents are satisfied with most aspects of healthcare in the UAE. Two-thirds are satisfied with the availability of advanced medical procedures and with the availability of healthcare appointments. On the other hand, respondents are less satisfied with the cost of treatments, with three-fifths (61%) claiming that they are not satisfied with the treatment costs. The majority of respondents (60%) see the high prices of medical care as a substantial challenge for the healthcare industry.

Most respondents (67%) trust the quality of the medical care they receive in the UAE, although only a minority (15%) claim to strongly trust the quality. Despite most respondents personally trusting the quality of medical care they receive, almost two-fifths (39%) believe that a general lack of trust in the medical industry in the UAE is a significant challenge for the healthcare industry.

Even with the high levels of trust in the quality of healthcare in the UAE, the majority (58%) would choose to seek medical treatment abroad if they were to fall seriously ill. Over a quarter (27%) of respondents see the UAE’s close proximity to medical destinations such as India as a significant challenge for the UAE healthcare sector. Many believe that people prefer to travel overseas for medical treatment (46%) and that the medical industry in the UAE is heavily dependent on a transient expatriate staff (41%). Two-fifths state that advanced medical procedures are not covered by medical insurance providers.

Most respondents (66%) believe that the UAE keeps up to date with global medical technology. 1 in 10 (11%) see the UAE as a leader in the adoption of global medical technology; whilst almost a quarter (23%) believe that the UAE is a late adopter of global medical technology.

Although the UAE is seen to have up to date medical technology, over a third (37%) see a lack of medical professionals who can operate advanced procedure machines/technology and a lack of medical schools in the UAE (33%) as significant challenges for the sector. A quarter of respondents (27%) also believe that a main challenge is that UAE Nationals lack interest in medical study.

It is clear that respondents are generally positive towards and trust the healthcare sector in the UAE. However, they are concerned about the healthcare costs and most would choose to seek treatment abroad if they fell seriously ill.

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