Hospitals short of 32,760 beds

Despite an increase in the number of hospital beds over the years, the average has stuck to 2.2 per 1,000 people because of a burgeoning population.

Despite an increase in the number of hospital beds over the years, the average has stuck to 2.2 per 1,000 people because of a burgeoning population.

Saudi Arabia has a shortage of 32,760 beds and 699 primary health care centers in the country, according to a review of the nation’s public and private sector facilities.

The Aleqtesadiah business daily published a report recently that showed the country has met 66 percent of its target for the ninth development plan, which runs for five years from 2010 to 2014.

The Ministry of Health had aimed to provide 97,540 beds in the public and private sectors, but managed only 64,780 by the end of 2013.

Over the past four years of the ninth plan, the country was able to create 2,211 beds each year and 56 health care centers.

The ministry planned to establish 2,958 medical centers by the end of 2014. It provided 2,259 by the end of 2013. It created an average of 36 each year for the past 15 years.

The ministry aimed to establish 972 centers over the five years of the ninth plan, but the review showed that it only added 273 by the end of 2013, which is 28 percent of the total.

The ministry intended to add 43,700 beds, from the beginning of 2010 until the end of 2014 for all health sectors — the ministry, private sector and other government apparatuses. By the end of 2013, it appeared the ministry only added 10,950 beds, or 35 percent.

No change has occurred in the average number of beds per 1,000 people, staying at 2.2 at the end of 2013. The aim is 3.5 per 1,000 people.

The private sector added the largest number of beds by the end of 2013, at 32 percent of the target. The target is 0.74 beds per 1,000 people, while it was 0.48 at the end of 2013.

The ministry’s hospitals added 29 percent of the target number of beds. Other government apparatuses added 7 percent of the target beds taking the number to 669 beds, with the target at 9,470 beds.

The target number of hospital beds at government facilities is 0.72 for each 1,000 people, but was 0.38 beds per 1,000 at the end of 2013.

The ministry plans to create 25,750 beds at 132 hospitals at a cost of SR26.3 billion. This would see the replacement of 45 hospitals, two with a capacity of 9,400 beds, and at a cost of SR8.1 billion.

It also includes the construction of 19 medical towers across the country at a cost of SR3.5 billion, and the replacement of three medical towers at a cost of SR462 million. The capacity of the medical towers will be 4,500 beds, excluding the three medical towers.

The ministry also plans to replace and develop the infrastructure of 43 hospitals and a medical city at a cost of SR5.1 billion. The construction of seven medical cities at a cost of SR16.3 billion was approved during the 2011 budget.

The ministry approved from 1999 to 2014 the establishment of 641 medical centers, 630 of which are dental clinics at a cost of SR9.52 billion, in addition to the requirements to counter the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, at a cost of SR200 million.

The ministry’s development projects include eight facilities at a cost of SR5 billion, including the expropriation of a maternity hospital in Taif for SR180 million, and buying properties for primary health centers for SR1 billion.

The ministry has 42 information technology projects under way costing SR3.6 billion for the computerization of facilities.

Over the past 15 years, the ministry approved the establishment of 12 laboratories and blood banks costing SR935 million in 11 cities and governorates, in addition to a public national laboratory.

The ministry also approved the establishment and furnishing of warehouses in various cities and governorates costing SR515 million in the budgets for 2006, 2012 and 2013.


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