Saudi healthcare reform progressing, but Long-Term-Care lags: Knight Frank

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Moves to boost private sector participation and investment in the healthcare sector highlight Saudi Arabia’s continued focus on the industry, said Knight Frank Middle East in its latest report.

The Kingdom has started a Public Private Partnership project targeting radiology and medical imaging services in its capital Riyadh, while increasing focus on enforcing mandatory health insurance for companies in the private sector.

However, there’s room for improvement in the Long-Term Care (LTC) sector. Patients that fall under the LTC category require limited healthcare services that are specific to their condition.

At least 7,000 beds are required to meet current demand levels, according to Knight Frank.

“Supply constraints within the long-term care segment are also recognized by Saudi Arabia’s government,” said Gireesh Kumar, a senior manager at Knight Frank Middle East.

The Kingdom has one rehabilitation bed per 130,000 population, notes Kumar, adding that there needs to be a 10-fold increase in the current supply of beds to match developed nations such as the UK and the US.

The consultancy expects demand for LTC services to accelerate as the number of people crossing 60 increase by three times between 2018 and 2035.

“This would result in demand for additional specializations within the LTC sector due to the burden of chronic diseases, which leads to degenerative and debilitating illnesses in the geriatric segment,” Knight Frank said.