Medical tourism revenues in Dubai hit Dh1 billion in the first half of 2015

The UAE government is putting huge focus on medical tourism in Dubai, but are locals confident enough in the healthcare system here?

Some recent medical cases may prove doubts still exist.

On October 4, an Emirati soldier succumbed to injuries he received while serving with the UAE Armed Forces as part of Operation ‘Restoring Hope’. He was being treated at a hospital in Germany.

Back in March, a 3-year-old Emirati boy received serious burns after an Indonesian maid allegedly poured acid on him. He too received treatment in Germany.

So, is the decision by locals to opt for treatments abroad affecting the medical tourism drive here?

“Absolutely not,” Linda Abdullah Ali, head of Medical Tourism Office at Dubai Health Authority (DHA) told Khaleej Times at the International Medical Travel Exhibition & Conference (IMTEC) in Dubai on Wednesday.

“Our local patients do not leave for everything, they leave for minor surgeries and very specialised treatments. Local patients only opt to go abroad if the treatment or surgery does not exist here. This is a very low number of patients. Emiratis stay here because we look after them.”

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