Saudi-based Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital (DSFH) has announced plans to build a university and hospital worth Dhs1 billion in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO).
The project is expected to boost the UAE's medical tourism while addressing the shortage of skilled healthcare staff in the region.
Construction will be carried out in phases with the hospital to be completed by 2017 while the medical university will be ready by 2019.
Built across 150,000 square metres, the hospital and the university are expected to offer 4,000 new jobs, according to DSFH.
The hospital, offering secondary and tertiary medical service, will target the growing residence community in Silicon Oasis and the neighbouring areas. The 300-bed facility is expected to cater to around 700,000 patients per year, with an estimated 40,000 admissions and 20,000 surgical operations.
"The initiative is also a step forward in the implementation of the strategy of the Executive office to make Dubai a hub for medical tourism," said Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, vice chairman and the CEO of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority.
"Recent statistics shows that the number of medical tourists receiving treatment is estimated to increase by 15 per cent each year. Additionally, healthcare spending in the UAE is expected to reach Dhs40 billion by 2015, while medical tourists are set to cross the 20 million mark for the same period."
Fakeeh Medical University, which will be built alongside the hospital, will offer instructions in fields such as medicine, nursing, laboratory sciences, radiology, physiotherapy, dentistry, clinical pharmacy and health policy and management.
The project will also include a research and development centre for basic sciences to develop more innovations in the medical field.
In addition, Fakeeh Medical University will partner with local universities, including the Rochester Institute of Technology in DSO; American University of Sharjah; Al Ain University and Dubai Academic City to encourage collaboration between medical professionals.
"This project will certainly tick all the boxes through value health treatments, best medical advice, job creation and most importantly the creation of a dependable knowledge in the health field that will benefit this region," said Al Zarooni.
Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital, located in Jeddah, was founded in 1978 and is the one of the largest private hospitals in the Middle East with a total bed capacity of 600. The hospital also set up a College of Nursing in 2003.
A recent Ernst and Young report on GCC's healthcare industry called for more skilled local professionals to reduce reliance on expatriate staff. The report also noted that the region's healthcare industry is seeing a rise in the number of private investors.