The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) healthcare market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 12.0% to $69.4 billion by 2018 from an estimated $39.4 billion in 2013. Outpatient and inpatient markets are expected to account for 79% and 21% respectively, of the overall market size, with Qatar and U.A.E. being expected to be the fastest growing markets in GCC over 2013–18.

‘Saudi Arabia will continue to be the largest market, accounting for 58.2% of the total in 2018, followed by U.A.E. (18.1%). The demand for number of hospital beds is expected to be 115544 in 2018, an addition of 11241 beds from 2013, which is in line with the expected supply looking at the number of projects in the pipeline,’ said Alpen Capital in its GCC Healthcare Industry Report.

GCC Healthcare Industry Report which includes details on current market trends and challenges faced by the GCC Healthcare sector and the on-going initiatives by GCC authorities to address these issues. The report encompasses profiles of each GCC country and highlights the existing market scenario in the healthcare sector. Finally, the study covers profiles of major publicly-listed and private firms (including details about their performance and market position).

‘The GCC region is poised for an unprecedented surge in healthcare consumption driven by robust population growth and rising income levels. Higher income levels and sedentary life styles have led to poor health conditions, a phenomenon that has been witnessed in most developed economies. The governments, which play the predominant role in healthcare services, are taking steps to ensure continuous development of infrastructure through nurturing management skills, increasing the share of private sector and utilising IT skills to spread the reach and range of healthcare services,’ says Sameena Ahmad, Managing Director, Alpen Capital.

Citing key growth drivers, the report says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the region’s population would cross the 50 million mark by 2020, providing impetus to the consumption of healthcare services.

Rising income levels and sedentary lifestyles have led to a higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes leading to a demand for specialised healthcare services. GCC population in the age group of 65 years and over is expected to surge from 1.2 million in 2015 to 14.2 million in 2050, driving demand for healthcare services. Life expectancy in 2011 for the GCC region stood at 76.4 years against 69.8 and 69.0 for the Arab and BRIC regions, respectively. In addition, infant mortality in the GCC improved from 110 per 10000 live births in 2000 to 78 in 2012.