Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Training and tech to tackle healthcare staff shortage

The UAE's density of healthcare staff is higher than the rest of the GCC but still below global benchmarks Pexels/Павел Сорокин:
The UAE's density of healthcare staff is higher than the rest of the GCC but still below global benchmarks
  • Lack of UAE doctors and nurses
  • Physician density higher than GCC
  • Call for more medical colleges

Technology and training combined can aid the impending recruitment crisis in UAE healthcare, experts say.

Globally there will be an estimated shortfall of 10 million workers in the industry by 2030, primarily in low and middle income countries, according to the World Economic Forum.

The UAE has not been spared. Research from Colliers showed there will be a gap of 15,000 nurses and allied health professionals in Abu Dhabi by the end of this decade, and a shortage of 6,000 physicians and 11,000 nurses in Dubai.

The physician and nurse density in the UAE is at 2.9 and 6.4 per 1,000 population respectively, which is higher than the GCC average. However, it is significantly lower than international benchmarks with developed healthcare systems. 

“Also, there is an imbalance in the distribution of doctors and nurses within the UAE, with Abu Dhabi having the highest ratio of doctors and nurses to population,” said Mansoor Ahmed, executive director for healthcare at Colliers in the Mena region.

Aster DM Healthcare, which is based in the UAE and listed in Mumbai, runs 34 hospitals, 131 clinics and 502 pharmacies in India and across the Gulf. Dr Azad Moopen, founder and chairman of the group, admitted that sourcing from traditional markets such as India and the Philippines had become “difficult” as a result of the shortage of medical professionals in those countries.

“Getting healthcare professionals is going to be a big challenge as we go forward,” he said.

He called for the creation of more medical colleges and institutions across the country “so that there will be ready availability of doctors, nurses and paramedics” in the UAE”.

Dr Jorge Guzman, CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, said the hospital, which has 5,200 staff, has a turnover rate of 10 percent, below the 19 percent average global benchmark.

“Retention is always going to be a priority,” he said.

Workforce shortages and funding pressures are pushing many institutions to decrease costs and increase productivity, with many turning to technology for help.

According to a 2021 survey of 200 healthcare leaders from around the world by KPMG, 38 percent said their organisation had used AI to engage with or treat patients.

A further 47 percent said they had used remote monitoring, 40 percent wearables and 35 percent embedded biometric monitoring.

“We firmly believe technology is not going to take over the jobs and we’re not going to replace this (shortage in numbers) – we’re going to aid it,” said Vivek Kanade, head of business and operations in the Middle East and Africa for Siemens Healthineers.

Akram Bouchenaki, CEO of Saudi company Abdul Latif Jameel Health, said tech could help “bridge the gap”, but not completely. “We still want to see a psychologist – robots will not be able to take care of depression,” he added.

Latest articles

Musicians perform at the Sharjah Ramadan Festival. Retailers offered discounts of up to 75% on local and international brands

Sharjah’s Ramadan retail sales peak at nearly $110m

Ramadan retail sales in Sharjah hit a new record high of AED400 million ($109 million) in 2024, reinforcing the positive outlook UAE companies had ahead of this year’s holy month. Sales jumped 25 percent year on year during the Sharjah Ramadan Festival 2024, which concluded last Saturday, the UAE state-run Wam news agency reported, quoting […]

UAE to advance talks on debt sustainability at global event

The UAE’s finance ministry intends to advance discussions on global macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability at the 2024 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG). The spring meetings will be held in Washington, D.C., from April 15 to 20. The UAE will also promote a dialogue to address […]

Adult, Female, Person

EU to provide ‘urgent’ $1bn short-term aid to Egypt

The European Union (EU) will provide €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in urgent short-term financial aid to Egypt to support its economy. The funding is part of the larger €5 billion macro-financial assistance package.  The remaining €4 billion will be released as longer-term assistance over 2024-2027 but is yet to be cleared by the 27-member bloc. […]

Adnoc sought advice from investment banks on buying a significant stake in BP, a media report said

UAE’s Adnoc explored acquiring BP

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) explored the possibility of acquiring British oil major BP but abandoned the plan as it did not fit into its strategic growth objectives, a media report said.  The talks did not advance beyond the initial stages, Reuters reported, citing informed sources.  The UAE state oil company also sought advice […]