DHCC receives record 1.2 million patient visits in 2014

Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), the world’s largest healthcare free zone, today updates the market on its operating performance for the full year ending December 31, 2014.

Dubai – January 26, 2015: Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), the world’s largest healthcare free zone, today updates the market on its operating performance for the full year ending December 31, 2014.

2014 Highlights

  • Total patient visits reached 1.2 million by year end, up from a million visits recorded in 2013 
  • 15% of DHCC patients are medical tourists
  • DHCC-commissioned survey shows 48 per cent medical tourists are from the GCC
  • 748 new healthcare professionals licensed, bringing total number of healthcare professionals to 4,534
  • Nine new healthcare facilities operational in DHCC
  • 17 new commercial offices established in DHCC
  • Occupancy of DHCC main buildings stands at 94%
  • Establishment of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBR-UMHS) and Mohammad Bin Rashid University Hospital
  • 53 active enrollments at the College of Dental Medicine
  • Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Center (MBR- AMC) was host to 300+ events with 20,000+ participants
  • 2,120 healthcare professionals trained at Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Medical Simulation Center (KHMSC)
  • Introduced online examinations for physicians and dentists from more than 30 countries
  • Introduced independent Appeals Board for healthcare professionals and healthcare operators
  • Total of 51 complaints, down from 60 received in 2013
  • Public health screenings conducted for 1,000+ residents

Her Excellency Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, Vice-Chairperson, Dubai Healthcare City Authority, said: “The world’s largest healthcare free zone has proven to be a springboard from which healthcare delivery, medical education and research, and medical tourism have leaped ahead. This growth is evident through Dubai Healthcare City’s expanding patient base, growing medical education avenues, and concerted efforts to strengthen regulatory for local and overseas patients. Growth is also evident in DHCC’s track record of projects built to address the gaps specific to the UAE and wider GCC region. The most recent project is the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, which will groom the future generation of healthcare professionals.

“Healthcare in the region is pegged to witness exponential growth in the coming years fueled by population growth, rise in chronic diseases, high disposable income, sophisticated spending patterns and political stability. We are confident that DHCC is well positioned to lead sector growth in tandem with the anticipated demand.”

Marwan Abedin, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Healthcare City, said: “We marked 12 years of growth in 2014 [since our founding]. The year will historically be one of the most dynamic going by the sheer momentum of progress with pinnacle announcements being the setting up of the Mohammad Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Mohammad Bin Rashid University Hospital. We introduced advanced standards of governance for licensing and complaints, and signed agreements with strategic partners to advance healthcare and medical education. We are optimistic about 2015 bearing witness to new milestones as projects in Phase 2 unfold.”

Dr Wajdi Al Daghma, Chief Operating Officer, Dubai Healthcare City, said: “We have made significant progress towards delivering on our mission of enabling high quality integrated healthcare. We constantly monitor demand and plan our capacity in line with the growing population, disease prevalence, as well as existing specialties. Our clinical facilities - hospitals, outpatient medical centers and diagnostic laboratories  - stand at 130+ with 180+ non-clinical, giving the operational Phase 1 of Dubai Healthcare City the advantage of a robust medical city networked by medical education offerings.” 


In 2014, patient visits reached a record 1.2 million, up by 20 per cent from the one million visits reported in 2013.

DHCC provides local and overseas patients with more than 130 clinical facilities comprising JCI-accredited hospitals, outpatient medical centers and diagnostic laboratories, and 187 non-clinical facilities including healthcare consultancy, clinical research organizations, and patient education services.

Medical tourism continues to play a significant role in driving traffic to the free zone, representing 15 per cent of total patients seeking treatment at DHCC in 2014.

According to findings from a DHCC-commissioned survey released in August, 48 per cent medical tourists come primarily from the GCC; 32 per cent from the wider Arab World; 26 per cent from Eastern and Western Europe; and 23 per cent from Asia. The three most popular procedures are: first, infertility treatments, second, cosmetic treatments, and third, dental.

Education and Research

Education is the core of DHCC’s operations, crowned with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Center (MBR- AMC). The academic complex is home to Al Maktoum Medical Library and the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Medical Simulation Center (KHMSC).

It will house the recently announced Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBR-UMHS) which is being developed in parallel with the Mohammad Bin Rashid University Hospital. The MBR-UMHS will offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees for both Emiratis and expatriates.

The MBR-UMHS has under its umbrella the College of Dental Medicine, which is already operational. The College offers six postgraduate programmes, accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR), in collaboration with the UK-based Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSE).

It has 53 residents, and an additional six professors joined the faculty - in 2014 – that now totals 15. Residents are represented predominantly by UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, India, Palestine, Comoros, Greece, the United Kingdom and Syria. Orthodontic dentistry is the most popular postgraduate specialty, followed by pediatric dentistry, and oral surgery.

In 2014, DHCC signed 22 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with Siemens, Cambridge University Hospital, GE Healthcare, City University of London, UAE Ministry of Health, Higher Colleges of Technology, and Dubai Medical College for Girls, Julphar and Higher Colleges of Technology. The MoUs further medical education and technical training.

The MBR-AMC was host to 300+ events - Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and industry conference - with 20,000+ participants, including: 

  • Third Arab Conference for Medical Liability
  • Global Surgery: The Lancet and The Gulf Perspective hosted by Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health and Delivery-Dubai 
  • 5th International Symposium on Ultrasound for Regional anesthesia, musculoskeletal, Interventional  Pain and Peri-operative Applications
  • 5th Annual Healthcare Quality and Accreditation Symposium & Science of Improvement Workshop by Institute for Healthcare Management (IHI)
  • Mini Medical School by Emirates Medical Association
  • Dubai Dental Clinic (DDC) CPD programmes

The MBR-AMC as an assessment and examination center hosted major examinations: the Arab Board Examination for Emergency Medicine; the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland; the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UK; Dubai College of Medicine; the Royal College of Physicians UK; the British Council Examinations and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’, which was held for the first time outside of Australia.

Middle East and North Africa office of the American Heart Association opened at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Center. The office works with 212 American Heart Association-affiliated training centers and sites that provide lifesaving training courses in the region.

The 1st UAE Clinical Simulation Conference took place February 26-27, 2014, organized by Dubai Healthcare City, and endorsed by the international body SESAM (Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine), the largest network of simulation professionals in Europe.  The conference provided a platform to address the need for simulation training in medical curricula and hospital settings, and the need for improving teamwork, strategy and problem solving for the benefit of patient safety. It saw participation strength of 220, represented by 22 countries.

In June, Dubai Healthcare City announced that the 2nd UAE Clinical Simulation Conference (CSC) 2015 will be held with the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM). It will take place February 24-25, 2015 at MBR- AMC. The UAE CSC 2015 conference will be SESAM’s first foray in the MENA (Middle East and Africa) region.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Medical Simulation Center (KHMSC)

The KHMSC, which is the first state-of-the-art comprehensive training facility in the region, conducted close to 150 training sessions during 2014 for both UAE, regional and international healthcare professionals (HCPs) and students. The courses conducted covered several technical and soft skills covering different areas of medicine and clinical trauma.

In 2014, 2,120 multidisciplinary healthcare professionals were trained from January to December, bringing the total number of trainees to 2,908 since its opening in November 2012.

In January, DHCC received an ambulance simulator from Mediclinic Middle East (MCME), further expanding the emergency response training at the KHMSC. 

KHMSC in collaboration with Cambridge University Hospitals conducted two simulation events - Cambridge Symposium in Anesthesia and Cambridge University Hospitals Patient Safety Symposium, plus related courses attended by 150+.

KHMSC became the only Acute Life Threatening Events Recognition and Treatment (ALERT tm) Training Center in the UAE, and an international training center for the American Heart Association.

Al Maktoum Medical Library (AMML)

AMML plays a pivotal role in the provision of medical information resources and expertise in support of the education, research and clinical care mission at Dubai Healthcare City.

During 2014, the number of patron registrants stands at 1,431. Over 4,595 individuals visited the library during the period, to access over 16 electronic databases and e-resources, 16,500 e-books and journal titles with a total of 357,818 database hits.

AMML participated in major regional and local meetings to enhance its service quality and efficiency. The participation and representation included the Library Directors Meeting, Innovation User Group Meeting, American Library Association – Librarians Meeting, UAE Medical Librarians Meeting, and UAE Libraries Symposium hosted by the Ministry of Culture.

AMML also conducted the following workshops for registered members:

  • How to publish your research in international scientific journals in collaboration with Springer and Edanz
  • Database training in collaboration with OVID- EBSCO, Springer and ClinicalKey
  • An orientation and training session for the Dubai College of Dental Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the European University College residents


DHCC’s portfolio of medical institutions continues to grow. In 2014, nine new medical institutions established presence in DHCC. These are Serenity Clinic Fetal Maternal Care, Dr Rami Hamed Center, Mantra Ayurveda Clinic, Doctors Clinic Diagnostic Center, PIDDDS 3D Living, Al Khayal Medical Centre, Digestive Health & Endoscopy Consultants, Westminster Ortho Med Clinic, and Camali Clinic Child and Adolescent Mental Health. 

Also in 2014, 17 new commercial offices established presence in DHCC including DHR MENA (Danaher), Apotex, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, and Paul Hartmann AG.

Four existing medical institutions have expanded their presence in DHCC. These include Stepping Stones; Amsa Renal Care; and the American Spine Centre. Earlier in January, Mediclinic City Hospital announced its expansion which will have an advanced oncology unit set to further increase capacity in cancer care and to provide the latest diagnostic technology.

With the growth in new entrants and existing partners’ expansion, demand for space in DHCC is on the rise. Occupancy of DHCC main buildings stands at 94%.

Work on DHCC’s Phase 2, which covers 19 million square feet, is underway. Two flagship projects have been announced as part of Phase 2, heralding the new stage in developing the region’s healthcare sector.

Wellness luxury hotel by Azizi Investments has received the preliminary design approval and is progressing with the final design submission. Construction expected to commence Q2 of 2015.

Swiss International Scientific School project is progressing with the final design submission; early stage of construction work has started, and further details of the project will be shared soon.

The construction of the 132 KV First Substation has begun to provide the development with operational power. Once completed, it will facilitate efficient transmission and distribution of electricity to support the demand for new infrastructure and operations. 



Regulation and licensure of all healthcare professionals and healthcare operators together with the handling of any complaints arising from the provision of clinical services is handled by the Center for Healthcare Planning and Quality (CPQ), an independent regulator overseen by Dubai Healthcare City Authority, the governing body and regulator of Dubai Healthcare City.

In 2014, CPQ licensed 748 healthcare professionals to bring the total to 4,534.

The CPQ received a total of 51 complaints, down from 60 received in 2013. Typically complaints include medical errors, inappropriate treatment, miscommunication and negligence. To ensure healthcare quality and patient safety, CPQ ensures standards are maintained through a series of ongoing requirements and inspections. Total on-site inspections conducted were 30 in 2014.

In October, DHCC announced a set of online examinations for physicians and dentists from more than 30 countries representing Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, the MENA region and the Indian subcontinent. The introduction of online licensing exams is part of a phased plan to strengthen DHCC’s regulatory standards in line with the agreement signed by UAE health authorities for the unification of medical licensing, and in line with Dubai Smart Government initiative.

Dubai Healthcare City partnered with Prometric, a testing provider that operates a network of secure test centers in more than 160 countries  

Additional milestones achieved in further strengthening the regulatory framework at DHCC include the introduction of an independent Appeals Board in September. The new Board acts as an independent system for healthcare professionals and operators within DHCC to appeal against decisions relating to licensing or complaints and to appeal against complaints in relation to activities carried out in DHCC.


Championing the development of the healthcare sector in the region, DHCC had a series of community initiatives focused on the nation’s wellbeing and welfare. 

DHCC’s awareness efforts were conducted in collaboration with healthcare specialists operating in DHCC on a range of topics such as ‘Autism: strengths and challenges’; ‘Nursing challenges in the UAE’; ‘Obesity in the UAE’; ‘Back to School Checklist’ and ‘Oral health issues in the UAE’.

Public health screenings were organized by Dubai Dental Clinic (DDC), the clinical arm of the College of Dental Medicine, which provides a comprehensive range of specialized services including cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics and periodontal treatment. The Clinic provided complimentary dental checkups, consultations and oral hygiene instructions for more than 1,400 patients for government and private entities.

Dubai Healthcare City also organized screenings for World Diabetes Day in November; complimentary diabetes consultations and checks were held for over 500 individuals in collaboration with DHCC’s clinical facilities Beijing TongRenTang, Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Center, Dubai Bone & Joint Center (DBAJ), Eye Consultants Center, Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai (MEHD), Sharif Eye Center and SRL Diagnostics. 

DHCC organized a four-day public screening event for World Heart Day providing consultations in collaboration with its clinical partners German Heart Center and KidsHeart: American Fetal & Children’s Heart Center. DHCC also organized in association with Dubai Blood Donation Center (DBDC) its annual blood collection drive.

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