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Snapshot: Many in GCC Prefer to Get Medical Treatment Abroad

Snapshot: Many in GCC Prefer to Get Medical Treatment Abroad

Kuwaitis least likely to have a personal physician they regularly see

by Jay Loschky

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sizable numbers of nationals in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries say they would prefer to seek medical attention outside of their own country if they had a serious health concern. Among the GCC nationals surveyed in 2011, Kuwaitis (65%) are the most likely to prefer to receive medical care abroad, and Saudis (35%) are the least likely.

Many GCC Nationals Prefer to Seek Healthcare Abroad

Majorities of GCC nationals also do not have one personal physician they regularly see for medical care. Kuwaitis, who are the most likely to prefer medical care abroad, are also the least likely to say that they have one physician they regularly see (16%). Conversely, Saudis are among the least likely to prefer foreign medical care and among the most likely to have a physician they regularly see (38%).

While Gallup surveys show that most GCC residents are satisfied with the availability of quality healthcare in their area, outbound medical care remains an expensive problem for Gulf governments, with the UAE alone spending $2 billion per year to send its residents abroad for treatments. Patients may choose to travel abroad because of poor quality of care or the unavailability of some medical specialties at home, such as oncology.

Gulf governments have worked to prioritize healthcare in recent years, with Saudi Arabia scheduled to allot $73 billion to building hospitals and healthcare centers between 2010 and 2014 and the government of Abu Dhabi partnering with international healthcare leaders such as the Cleveland Clinic to improve healthcare conditions within the country. Still, much work remains to be done to convince GCC residents that they don't have to first travel to the airport to obtain high quality healthcare.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact us.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face and telephone interviews with between 495 and 897 GCC nationals, aged 15 and older, conducted in 2011 and 2012. For results based on samples at the country level, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranges from ±3.7 percentage points to ±5.5 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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