The UAE is fast establishing itself as the regional hub for medical and healthcare tourism and Dubai is leading the way. Patients travel from all over the Gulf for medical care in Dubai and it is becoming increasingly popular as an international choice for health screening, cosmetic and specialist procedures.
I hadn’t realised the scale of it until I needed a minor operation last year and chose a clinic in Dubai Healthcare City. More than 300,000 medical tourists are estimated to have visited the emirate in 2017, attracted to an advanced infrastructure that includes a real talent pool of highly qualified medical professionals from a diverse range of countries and backgrounds. This removes language as a barrier and like most of Dubai’s infrastructure, the hospitals are all new and state-of-the-art, complementing the doctors and medical professionals based within them.
Private healthcare is the basis for expatriate medical care, so there are plenty of facilities that cater to Dubai’s more than 200 nationalities, which gives it a head start when it comes to international visitors that need treatment. I noted that I had a Jordanian consultant, a British anaesthetist and a German surgeon for my own procedures, while I came across nurses of at least four nationalities and administrative staff from various countries.
I understand that Dubai is also becoming the destination of choice for a number of international medical conventions. Specialist associations are meeting in the UAE to share knowledge and leave a legacy in the destination. One of the bigger recent events was the World Cardiology Congress of the World Health Foundation, which Dubai has won the bid to host for the second time in 2018.
Almost all of the clinics and hospitals I researched and visited in Dubai were both new and state-of-the-art. It is the city of the future after all, and its medical facilities are fittingly cutting-edge. I didn’t need to worry about a long waiting list and found the medical charges to be value for money when compared to other destinations. Plus, the surroundings made for a rather nice place to recover.
Dubai really is the ultimate destination for rest and relaxation, making it that much easier to hit the reset button on your wellbeing. Health in Dubai appears to be about more than just medical treatment. The emirate is becoming increasingly aimed towards people seeking a lifestyle that prioritises physical and mental well-being – even if only for a few weeks. From the growing number of vegan restaurants to luxury gyms and yoga studios, so much of the city is geared towards helping you live your best, healthiest life.
It also helps that Dubai’s hotels are the perfect place to recover, with spacious, comfortable rooms, attentive service and luxury facilities, such as spas offering pampering treatments, swimming pools and private beaches.
During my own treatment, I needed to base myself near Dubai Healthcare City. The freezone is the emirate’s hub for medical professionals and visitors, and there are around 160 hospitals, medical centres and diagnostics labs based there.
I didn’t want to have to travel too far between my appointments and chose to book a room at Rove Healthcare City, which is just a few short steps from the medical hub. It was the first time I experienced the brand and found it to be very unique – they are arty and on-trend, with all the modern amenities you need, from a swimming pool, sun deck and a 24-hour gym. I loved the late check out at 2pm, which really helped my departure as I had an evening flight and Dubai International Airport was just a 10 minute drive away.
On that particular trip I didn’t have a chance to do too much exploring but it was nice to know that Healthcare City was just a short drive from lots of Dubai’s major modern attractions including Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Opera and The Dubai Mall. You could even walk to Wafi Mall, weather and health permitting. The Oud Metha location is also just a short distance from the historic neighbourhoods of Bur Dubai and Deira.
Dubai is certainly worth considering if you fancy combining healthcare treatment with a relaxing stay in vibrant, modern surroundings. It is a place where both hospitality and treatment really are first class.
Martin H. is travel expert who specialises in health and wellbeing trends