The development of Sheikh Shakbout Medical City is indicative of Abu Dhabi's pursuit of excellence in the services it offers its citizens and the wider world.
In talking about the future of healthcare and medical tourism in Abu Dhabi it is impossible not mention Sheikh Shakbout Medical City. The AED4 billion development will be one of the largest, most comprehensive medical facilities the region has ever seen. Set to open in 3Q2017, Sheikh Shakbout Medical City is a 300,000sqm complex located in the Al Mafraq area of Abu Dhabi. It boasts an impressive 700 beds, over 2,200 staff, four towers, and two helipads. It will specialize in advanced burn treatment, orthopedic and thoracic surgery, and cardiac services, in addition to offering a wide range of state-of-the-art medical services. Sheikh Shakbout Medical City will be a joint effort by Abu Dhabi General Services (Musanada) in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA) and establish Abu Dhabi’s position as a hub for medical tourism in the region.
Becoming the top destination for medical tourism is a primary goal for the Executive Council. Total expenditure on health are planned to jump from AED84 billion to 101 billion by 2021, as part of a plan that has unofficially referred to as UAE Medical Tourism Vision 2021. According to Dr. Amin Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Practice and Licensing Sector at the Ministry of Health, “In 2000 we had only three hospitals with international JCI accreditation; in 2016 we have 55 hospitals throughout the country with this internationally recognized accreditation.” The Health Regulation Department is preparing for a massive inflow of medical tourists, estimating that Dubai alone will receive 500,000 by 2020. Having the top international standards of healthcare is crucial for attracting patients from abroad. UAE pharmacies and hospitals are also offering a large number of US Food and Drug Administration patented medicines to ensure only the highest quality medicine is given to patients.
The scope and vision of Sheikh Shakbout Medical City is a result of the direction of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who is known for his enduring effort and unyielding pursuit of excellence in his endeavors. His ambition to turn Abu Dhabi into one of the premier locations for healthcare in the world has eased the path for comprehensive projects across the Emirate. Sheikh Shakbout Medical City means that failure or anything less than extraordinary success is not an option.
Part of the effort to ensure the success of Sheikh Shakbout Medical City is to attract the most talented physicians, specialists, and healthcare providers from around the world. Recruiting the best to facilitate knowledge transfers between locals and expatriates has been foundational for the UAE’s development strategy. In every sector from ICT to energy to defense and aerospace, the mix between Emiratis and expatriates is intended to lend expertise to the industry and assist in its development in the hopes of becoming a regional and world leader in each respective field.
Sheikh Shakbout Medical City will be in line with Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, a set of guidelines and objectives to make the Emirate a diversified, eco-friendly, and international business environment. A major aspect of this is making the facility easily accessible to people from anywhere from Nigeria to Indonesia to the UK. SEHA is doing this by making this facility highly centralized and integrating functions such as registration, insurance information, and a vendor manual into an online platform. There will also be a portal to provide accommodation for medical tourists and their families.
The image and positioning of Abu Dhabi in the coming future will be parallel to mega projects such as Sheikh Shakbout Medical City, in that its success will promote a message of quality and high standards around the world. In creating one of the biggest and most sought after medical facilities in the world, Abu Dhabi has cemented itself as a global destination for healthcare.