Demand for healthcare professionals will grow exponentially in the coming years in the UAE as the country will require more than 33,000 nurses and allied health professionals by 2030.
According to the latest forecast released by Colliers Healthcare & Education division’s market intelligence report, Abu Dhabi will have a gap of 11,000 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals by 2030 while Dubai’s requirement will be 6,000 physicians and 11,000 nurses, driven by growth in population, medical tourism, growing burden of chronic diseases, ageing population, increasing patient expectations and rapid advances in treatment innovation and technology.
Demand for healthcare professionals has grown dramatically in the UAE and the Gulf region after the pandemic as healthcare services providers are looking to hire more qualified and experienced individuals, especially in the nursing departments.
Mansoor Ahmed, executive director and head of development solutions, healthcare, education and PPP for the Middle East and Africa region at Colliers, said the demand is shifting from traditional skill sets to advanced medical education as the region goes through a transition towards the adoption of new medical technologies.
“In addition to the increasing demand to cater to new healthcare facilities, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, robotic sciences, and genome sequences require the medical workforce to persistently enhance their skill set in order to be able to opt for specialised positions, resulting in demand for more medical education institutions,” he said.
According to Colliers, the UAE has 157 hospitals, of which 104 are operated by the private sector. The number of beds totals just over 18,000 across the country, of which 8,356 are operated by private entities. In terms of number of physicians, there are 26,736 employed in the country, including 10,376 in Dubai, 10,141 in Abu Dhabi and 5,358 in the Northern Emirates.
Physician and nurse density in the UAE stood at 2.9 and 6.4 per 1,000 population, respectively, which is higher than the GCC countries’ average.
Roles that will be in demand
The UAE Capital will mostly recruit doctors in the field of psychiatry, emergency medicine, radiation oncology, intensive care and orthopaedic surgery. In the allied category, mainly people from the field of psychology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, lab technicians and emergency technicians will be in high demand in Abu Dhabi.
In Dubai, most of the demand will be for doctors in the field of general medicine, general surgery, paediatrics, anaesthetists, obstetrics, endocrinology, cardiology and nephrology.
“Despite the fact that a remarkable increase took place in the number of the healthcare workforce in the UAE, there is still a shortage in availability of trained physicians/nurses, particularly local professionals. The gaps in the workforce do not only pertain to doctors but also to nurses and other paramedical staff who make up the bulk of the health workforce,” Colliers said.
Moreover, Mansoor Ahmed added that there is a growing tendency to create clinical pathways and affiliations with international medical schools to keep abreast with the latest innovations in the medical/education sector, in addition to offering dual degrees/certificates with international medical institutions which open doors for local staff to practice and migrate to international markets as a result of a shortage of medical staff across the globe.
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