A new holding company announced by the Saudi government will take over health services normally provided and run by the country’s Ministry of Health (MoH), it has been confirmed.
Approved by the Saudi Cabinet, Health Holding Company (HHC) would focus on providing medical services and care through the upcoming health clusters, a collection of independent companies that focus on specialized services. Going forward, the Health Ministry will instead focus on regulating and supervising all public and private health facilities in the country, it confirmed in a statement.
The Saudi cabinet has also approved the charter for a national health insurance center, the health ministry added, with all direct healthcare-related funds allocated in the Kingdom’s national budget from the health ministry to the center. .
“[This is] in accordance with the roadmap set by the supervisory committee for the privatization of the health sector,” the ministry added.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
The move is part of the Kingdom’s plans to “improve the overall performance of the Saudi healthcare system”, with the HHC focusing on areas including expanding digital health programs and virtual medical services.
The newly created company will also provide specialist services, including oncology and renal rehabilitation, and intensive care in the areas of cardiology, vascular neurology and trauma.
THE WIDER CONTEXT
Launched in 2018, the “Privatization programaims to “strengthen the role of the private sector in the provision of services and the provision of public assets”.
Health is a major area of interest for the Kingdom, with reported plans privatize 290 hospitals and 2,300 primary health centers by 2030.
Fahad Al-Jalajel, Minister of Health of Saudi Arabia, said that the creation of the HHC “embodies the interest of the leaders in improving the health services provided to all citizens and residents, in pursuit of the objective of the Kingdom”. Vision 2030 Goals.”
He added that the decision “lays the legal foundations for the implementation of the transformation strategy within the ministry, which will take place in successive stages over the next few years”, and that the local health poles, defined as subsidiaries of the HHC, “will implement a set of programs aimed at improving community health through the prevention and early detection of disease through the development of primary health care services”.