The Middle East may compete with Europe in terms of attracting medical professionals in a bid to address the increasing demand for high-quality and world-class healthcare services, according to an official of the Philippine Business Council-Qatar (PBC-Q).
PBC-Q chairman Greg Loayon said Qatar has invested heavily in developing the country’s healthcare system, which would require both first-rate facilities and human resources. Similarly, he also noted that “Europe is ramping up demand for medical professionals.”
Loayon’s statement reaffirms an earlier statement from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), which reported that Qatar had invested QR22.7bn in healthcare last year, a 4% increase from 2017. The country’s healthcare spending is among the highest in the Middle East, the MoPH said.
London-based think tank, Legatum Institute, also corroborated this in a report, which said Qatar’s health system ranked fifth ‘Best in the World’ and the first in the Middle East, the ministry also said.
According to Loayon, there is an opportunity for medical professionals worldwide, particularly Filipino doctors and nurses, as well as practitioners of ancillary services, such as laboratory technicians and personnel, physical therapists, and physiotherapists to offer their services amid the burgeoning healthcare sector in Qatar, as well as in other countries.
In Qatar, Loayon said Filipino doctors are now able to practise their fields of specialisation after the MoPH granted equivalency to practise as specialists. In 2017, the ministry, through the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP) released an updated ‘Approved Specialty Qualifications List for Physicians’ in Qatar.
This list, Loayon said, now includes doctors from the Philippines who are diplomates of the Philippine Board. He said these diplomates can get the ‘specialist’ title after three years of work experience from post qualification degree, unless more years of experience is specified. They are not eligible for a ‘consultant’ title unless a higher qualification is obtained.
Loayon lauded the ministry and the QCHP for recognising Filipino doctors, saying that this not only reinforces the competency of Filipino medical professionals in the country but will also bolster the number of qualified doctors in Qatar.
“Filipino medical professionals are also equally in demand in Europe. I believe that the Middle East will be competing with Europe for medical professionals as a destination…and so we have a real opportunity here.
“We have a wealth of medical professionals that can really serve Qatar; when you look at the demographics of the population from a profession perspective, Filipino medical professionals are well-equipped to work with patients of any nationality and from all walks of life, and we have extensive medical experience at par with international standards,” Loayon said.