Qatar plans to build 48 new health care facilities by 2020, with 22 of those projects expected to be done by 2016, during the first phase of its 20-year Qatar Health Facilities Master Plan (QHFMP).

Qatar is ramping up the construction of additional healthcare facilities in anticipation of surging demand in the coming years. The Gulf state’s healthcare market will be the fastest-growing in the GCC region with a 14.4 compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013-2018, according to Alpen Capital. During the same period, Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health (SCH) is implementing a five-year action plan -- the first phase of a larger program to improve healthcare infrastructure.

Under the Qatar Health Facilities Master Plan (QHFMP), 48 healthcare projects are expected to be completed by 2020. These include 31 health centers, eight diagnostic and treatment units, two long-term care facilities, a new general hospital, a new specialty hospital, and five hospital expansion plans. At least 14 health centers and eight diagnostic units will be completed by the end of 2016.

In addition, the Sidra Medical and Research Center, envisioned to be a premier medical and research center with an endowment of $7.9 billion from the Qatar Foundation, will be fully operational next year. 

The SCH recently announced the (QHFMP) -- a 20-year road map to improve the health care infrastructure in Qatar until the year 2033. The plan was conceived as part of Qatar’s National Health Strategy (NHS) 2011-2016 to improve the whole healthcare sector in the country. Projects completed under the QHFMP program are expected to be fully compliant with a major e-Health and telemedicine program that requires all health facilities in Qatar to digitize systems and patient records. These projects will serve as the physical environment in which the NHS goals of universal healthcare, specialization and improved quality of care are to be achieved, SCH officials said. 

“Developing an infrastructure master plan is essential to guide increasing healthcare capacity and is further evidence that we are 100% committed to making sure that the sector meets the rising demand for quality services and facilities across the state for the next 20 years,” Dr, Faleh Mohamed Hussain Ali, assistant secretary general for Policy Affairs of the SCH, said in a statement. “Infrastructure is a major driver of annual healthcare costs in Qatar so the master plan will rationalise, integrate and coordinate all existing, planned and proposed facilities.”

Qatar will be spending approximately $2.7 billion in the healthcare sector by 2020, part of a larger trend that will see the regional market in the GCC pouring $56 billion into the health sector by the end of the decade, according to a report. Qatar’s plan to boost infrastructure spending mirrors similar initiatives in neighboring states, particularly Saudi Arabia and UAE, who are also in the midst of a healthcare facility construction boom.

The SCH said that the master plan calls for increased participation from the private sector. Global healthcare organizations and operators will be invited to partner in opening new facilities in Qatar subject to customary financial conditions.

“As a result of [the] Qatar Health Facilities Master Planning process, the Supreme Council can proceed with due confidence knowing that health facilities will be located in the right place, developed at the right scale and will provide the right services to deliver a comprehensive, world-class healthcare system whose services are accessible to the whole population of Qatar,” Awn Sharif, manager of Health Care Facility Planning, Health Planning & Assessment Department at the SCH, said in a statement.