Sending UAE patients to Israel


With opportunities opened up by the new Israel-UAE normalisation agreement, Israel’s biggest hospital hopes to see an influx of medical tourists from the UAE, following a deal with a large Emirati investment fund.

Sheba Medical Centre argues that Israel will become a popular destination for treatment, due to geographical proximity to the Gulf state and the convenience of having many Arabic speakers on staff.

The Centre has signed a deal with Abu Dhabi-based APEX National Investment. The deal has provisions for ‘the establishment of significant medical tourism’ from the UAE to the hospital, which is expected to begin when travel restrictions are relaxed.

APEX and the hospital argue that there is limited knowledge within the UAE and many complicated cases are sent outside the UAE, so a new solution in Israel is closer than Europe and cheaper than the USA. Dubai medical tourism promoters and Dubai Healthcare City may argue that this view is out of date and they have local knowledge, plus capability.

The reality is that while the UAE promotes itself as a destination for people seeking medical treatment, it also has significant outgoing medical tourism.

As well as taking UAE citizens to Israel for treatment, the deal will take Israeli doctors to the UAE and allow telehealth. Whether any of this actually happens is unknown - the deal signed by Sheba and APEX only outlines an agenda for cooperation, with details still to be agreed.



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