Dubai is looking to cement its position as the region’s go-to hub for medical tourism, but does it have what it takes to compete on a global level?

In days gone by Gulf countries struggled to attract even their own citizens for treatment. Concerns over the quality of local facilities and staff meant millions or even billions of dollars were spent sending nationals to Europe or the United States for procedures.

“Trust was one of the biggest issues,” recalls the deputy CEO of the UAE-based American Center of Psychiatry and Neurology (ACPN), Dr Adel Karrani.

“Patients felt they received better treatment and improved diagnosis outside of the UAE in spite of there being an availability of world renowned doctors and physicians within the country itself.”

But now times are changing. The regional healthcare market is booming, international medical institutions are flocking to set up local operations, and Dubai is seeking to convince not just locals but international visitors that it can compete as a global destination for treatment.