As the number of expatriates settling in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) continues to increase, its government is aware that attractive investment prospects alone will not be sufficient to persuade foreign professionals to set up a base in the emirate. With quality of life being an equally significant parameter in an investor’s decision on where to settle, the availability of high-quality healthcare facilities features highly among their concerns.

“Our [healthcare] facilities are systematically planned because if RAK is promoted as a place for foreign investment, the first thing people would like to know is: if something happens to me, is there emergency care?” says Dr Raza Siddiqui, CEO of Arabian Healthcare Group. “High-end expatriates are moving to RAK. They have private healthcare insurance and they want to go to hospitals that maintain the high standards that they are used to in their home countries. There was a huge gap in terms of quality private healthcare in RAK because there was no private healthcare provider here, and that his how RAK hospital was conceptualised.”

Advertisement

A premium service

Formed in 2007 as part of a joint venture between the government of RAK and the ETA Star Healthcare of Dubai, Arabian Healthcare oversees the management of RAK Hospital. As a premium healthcare and hospitality provider, RAK Hospital is looking to make gains from the increasing numbers of expatriates settling in RAK, and it has positioned itself with a view to attract international medical tourists, estimated by consultancy company The Prospects Group to become a $20bn industry in the Middle East alone.

As a way to market itself to resident expatriates and foreign medical tourists, RAK Hospital has embarked on an ambitious programme to further develop its existing healthcare facilities, as well as offer advanced and complex treatments. “We have pioneered certain specific services,” says Dr David Arpan, the chief operating officer at RAK Hospital. “One of our most recent ventures is a cardiac surgery division, which is not available anywhere else in the northern emirates.”

RAK Hospital has already witnessed notable success. “We have registered and treated more than 75,000 individuals,” says Mr Arpan. “With a population of roughly 220,000 people in RAK, that is a significant market share of the population.”

Operating in an area with a small population density, RAK Hospital is faced with the challenge of maintaining a sustainable business. Therefore RAK Hospital is outward-facing in its aspirations to attract clientele from other parts of the world. “RAK Hospital will be geared towards the international market and medical tourism,” says Mr Arpan. “We do not have the numbers [within RAK]. That is why we look to the international market to meet our requirements.”

Global aspirations

Mr Siddiqui remains confident about RAK Hospital’s ability to attract medical tourists from around the world. “We offer international-quality healthcare at an Asian price,” he says. “In terms of our quality and outcomes, we are comparable to the best in the world. There are roughly 400 [medical] patients per day who change flights in Dubai airport. If we can attract up to 10% of them here, this will give us a good opportunity to become a medical destination in the future.”

With RAK Hospital’s accredited healthcare credentials offering foreign professionals secure prospects for a good standard of treatment, RAK Hospital also appears set to become another engine of economic growth through the development of RAK's nascent medical tourism sector.