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Akbar Moideen Thumbay,
Director Operations Healthcare & Retail
Division of the Thumbay Group said, “The
world of healthcare has changed significantly
in the past few years. We all know that,
while the cost of healthcare has skyrocketed,
the quality may not have. As a result, many
overseas facilities have taken up the slack to
provide luxury quality care and surroundings
to specifically serve the medical tourism
market. It’s a market that, like all others, is
It is an integrated, healthcare-delivery component of Gulf Medical University started in
2002 by the Thumbay Group, U.A.E. It provides affordable healthcare for its patients from
over 175 nationalities ranging from as far apart as Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the
GCC and Western Europe. The hospital equipped with today’s most modern facilities,
offers the latest techniques and procedures. These state-of-the-art facilities focus on
what matters: more effective, efficient and pleasant solutions for patients.
service- driven, where hospitality and healing
surroundings combine with superior quality
medical care and unquestionably lower costs
to create a very real incentive one can’t ignore.
Whether it’s dental medical tourism, medical
travel for cosmetic surgery, or a specific
surgical procedure, the cost differential can be
“Due to cost-effective prices, excellent air
connectivity, unmatched expertise, world-
class treatment combined with health
tourism – which includes a complete
health check-up and optional activities
such as local sightseeing and shopping
– GMC Hospital, Ajman has become
the destination for medical tourism
in UAE. It also offers translators,
as well as assistance on location,
transport and accommodation as
and when required. GMC Hospital
has a dedicated International Patient
Services team, as well as customer
service ambassadors who support
our local and overseas patients from
the point of enquiry through to
admissions and discharge from the
hospital. The International Patient
Services department includes a
complete scope of services for patients
visiting the hospital from outside
the United Arab Emirates. Multilingual staff
are available to coordinate all aspects of a
patient’s stay, such as the management of
medical consultations and hospital admission,
travel and hotel arrangements for patients
and their families, including an air ambulance
depending on the distance and the condition
of the patient; assistance in choosing the right
doctor, processing of second medical opinions,
and remote consultations via telemedicine if
needed. Being one of the best medical travel
facilitator in the region, GMC Hospital helps
medical tourists plan their complete medical
treatment package. Due to the plethora of
medical services available to patients, along
with the assurance of the highest quality care,
there have been yearly increases in the number
of international patients at GMC Hospital. It
also prepares medical packages that provide
patients with all the services and information
they need, including length of stay, cost
estimation and recovery period,” he added.
In August this year, The New Economy, a
Division of World New Media Limited, U.K
at the London Stock Exchange awarded
Mr. Akbar Moideen, Director-Operations
Healthcare & Retail Division, Thumbay Group,
UAE with a trophy in recognition of GMC
Hospital, Ajman being the best hospital for
promoting medical tourism globally in U.A.E.
According to a recent survey done by a UAE
based health travel consultant, UAE is among
the world’s top 20 destinations for medical
tourism. Of the 35 countries identified in the
survey as being significant healthcare tourism
providers, India was ranked as the number
one popular destination, with Thailand and
Singapore positioned at second and third
places respectively. The United States had a
surprise ranking at number four and the UAE
came in at number 11.
The four most popular reasons given for why
patients travel abroad to receive medical
treatment were ‘affordability (costly in home
country)’ at 88 per cent, ‘accessibility (waiting
period is high)’ at 66 per cent ‘better quality
(care and support services are better quality
than the home country) at 38 per cent and
‘availability (not available in home country) at
46 per cent.
Revenue in the UAE’s medical tourism market
amounted to about US$1.7 billion (Dh6.24bn)
in 2010, and the sector is projected to grow
by about 15 per cent annually, according to
the market research firm Business Monitor
International. Between 2010 and 2012, the
number of tourists has risen from 2 million to
9.5 million! Growing numbers are proof to the
promise of further development in this segment
of service. In keeping with these statistics, UAE
has recently announced a new three-month
medical tourist visa, which can be extended
twice, up to nine consecutive months, in a bid
to attract foreign patients.
It also is now granting short-stay visas for
specialist doctors needed to work in operating
theatres for as little as one day. Additionally,
thousands of medical professionals are
travelling to Dubai for various healthcare
conferences hosted in the emirate. More than
100,000 people are estimated to have attended
Arab Health expo earlier this year.
With the national and budget carriers
expanding their routes and this segment being
seen as a lucrative opportunity for various
countries within the Gulf and abroad, there is a
likelihood of considerable traction in inbound
medical tourism rising over the next coming
While there are a number of hospitals that are
doing their best to gain their foothold in this
lucrative sectors, some are already well ahead
in the race.
Oct/Nov 2013