A Cultural Shift in Primary Healthcare in the Gulf

A Cultural Shift in Primary Healthcare in the Gulf

Our Business Development Director Jim Godsal offers his insight into the current healthcare landscape in the Middle East and explains how this will lead to more opportunities for GPs interested in moving to the Gulf region.

Over the past 20 years the healthcare landscape in the Middle East has changed immeasurably, with enormous investment from both public and private sectors serving an increasingly expectant population, both local and expat. During the past two years though, there has been a more concerted effort to change the way people use and engage with the healthcare system.

Traditionally in the Middle East patients have self-referred to a Consultant or Specialist, so your first port of call if you have an earache is to an ENT Consultant. This access to specialists can seem advantageous to the individual, but it’s not a particularly efficient system. In the UK, if it’s an emergency (and all too often even if it’s not) you go to the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department (ED), for any other ailments your first step is to go and see your GP (Family Physician).

On the NHS, the option to source a Consultant and book an appointment isn’t available, you can only be referred to them by your GP should they deem it necessary. We’re now seeing the Governments in the Middle East looking to emulate this system, encouraging people to use the Primary healthcare systems in which they are investing huge amounts.


We’ve been recruiting to the Middle East for almost 5 years and while there has always been a large interest from UK trained GPs to work in the region, there’s never been the demand. That’s changed in the last 12 months and we’ve now worked on a number of large recruitment drives, especially in the UAE and Qatar. The Governments are actively promoting Primary health and are revamping existing and building new primary healthcare and ambulatory health clinics. These in turn need experienced Doctors to staff them.

With growing populations and increased investment, Primary healthcare in the region is developing at a rate of knots. GPs moving to the region now are becoming the driving force in a cultural shift of how healthcare is accessed and used. It won’t happen overnight, but it means that there are now many exciting opportunities for GPs looking to work in the Middle East.

If you’re a GP interested in opportunities overseas, why not take a look at our blog or our fabulous Doctor's Guides for more information on living and working in all of the regions we recruit to. Alternatively, you can search all of the jobs we currently have available here.

For further information on GP opportunities in the Gulf, contact Yan Scouller on +44 (0)131 240 5274 or yan@headmedical.com

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