Qatar has enjoyed momentous economic gains in the recent past and the future does not seem any less bright. Coinciding with this growth has been a massive influx of expatriates […]
Qatar has enjoyed momentous economic gains in the recent past and the future does not seem any less bright. Coinciding with this growth has been a massive influx of expatriates coming in as both laborers and skilled workers. Similarly, with the increase in personal wealth and quality of life, the Qatari national population is exploding with expected YoY birth rates to increase at pace for the foreseeable future. With these factors in play, Qatar is facing a serious problem in its capacity for healthcare. Because of this, healthcare remains at the focal point for development as outlined in Qatar National Vision 2030. While open to the private sector with many private clinics and hospitals in the country, Qatar’s healthcare sector is dominated by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), a government-owned public healthcare provider. As such, HMC is rolling out ambitious plans to increase the country’s healthcare capacity in HMC’s new 15-year master plan and the development of Hamad bin Khalifa Healthcare City (HBKMC).
In order to tackle Qatar’s healthcare crisis, HMC’s new ambitious 15-year master plan includes plans to double the number of hospital beds and operating theaters in the country and triple car-parking provisions. As such, HMC is looking to increase its hospital bed count from 2,100 to 4,200, clinics from 400 to 1,000, operating theaters from 40 to 90, and car parking spaces from 8,000 to 24,000. The plan will see the regeneration of HMC’s central Doha campus and the development of an integrated, nationwide network of hospitals, services, and care-centers. The master plan also seeks to revolutionize HMC’s service delivery in areas outside of Doha with a network of new ambulatory care centers across Qatar. In fact, the master plan also has laid out that the number of ambulance points in Qatar should double from 20 to 40 in the coming year. Hamad Al Khalifa, Chief of Facilities at HMC, said, “This plan builds on our track record of expanding services and developing new facilities including the Cuban Hosptital, the National Diabetes Centers in Al Wakra, Hamad General Hospitals, and the award-winning PET-CT Center. Soon we will also open the Communicable Diseases Hospital and expand our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as well as new operating theaters, trauma services, and car parking facilities.“ Following the completion of these near-term projects, HMC will also focus on opening three new specialist hospitals and a translational research center in HBKMC.
Construction is on track for the $7.3 billion HBKMC project, which spans over 227,000sqm. To highlight the importance of the project’s completion, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister for the Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani has paid regular visits to construction sites and made major press briefings on the project’s progress. With this, there are three main construction efforts on-going simultaneously within the HBKMC project, namely the Ambulatory Care Center, the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, and the Women’s Wellness and Research Center. While originally targeted for a mid-2015 completion date, it is looking more like the end of 2015 or early 2016 for when the projects are to be handed over to HMC for commissioning. While Qatar is blessed with sustainable economic growth, these plans are not without challenges. Qatar will continue to face issues in the healthcare sector due to its rapidly expanding population. Authorities have made significant strides in the furthering of offerings of the public healthcare provider HMC. With its ambitious 15-year master plan and the development of the HBKMC, Qatar will be able to ensure a healthy and productive society for years to come.