Akbar Moideen Thumbay on medical tourism | Thumbay Group | Video
The New Economy interviews Akbar Moideen Thumbay, Director of Operations for Thumbay Group, on how its GMC Hospital chain is improving the provision of healthcare in the UAEShow transcript
Founded in 1988, the Thumbay Group is an international business conglomerate with its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates. Its latest project, the GMC Hospital chain, offers state-of-the-art technology and advanced surgical services. Director of Operations Akbar Moideen Thumbay discusses the hospitals’ provision, specialisms, and plans to expand into a 1,000 bed, 15-hospital chain across the UAE.
The New Economy: What services does the GMC Hospital chain have to offer?
Akbar Moideen Thumbay: The GMC Hospital offers all kinds of services, right from your executive health check-ups, where you come and you’re received personally by your patient relations coordinator, who takes you all the way across the hospital into your different check-up areas…
Right from the executive health check-up, up to, you know, consultation with various specialist consultants in all specialities. And of course, major surgeries such as cardiac surgeries or neurosurgeries, etc.
So GMC Hospitals offer this spectrum of services. We have different facilities in Ajman, Fujairah and Sharjah, and some of these facilities are concentrated. For example, the Sharjah facility is a specialised super-speciality dental centre. So you get all your dental work done in the Sharjah centre.
Our staff are not just clinicians or doctors, but they’re professors, so their knowledge levels are much higher than normal clinicians
The New Economy: And in what ways are you different from your competition?
Akbar Moideen Thumbay: Like I said, GMC Hospital is the first private teaching hospital in the UAE. What it means is that our students of the Gulf Medical University are rotated across in the hospitals. So, what I say would be different is that the clinicians or the doctors who are practising in the hospital are not just clinicians or doctors, but they’re professors. So they’ve been teaching students for the last 10 years, so their knowledge levels are much higher than normal clinicians. That is the first advantage.
The second advantage, which is a major advantage I would say, is that being a teaching hospital, our prices are considerably subsidised. The reason being that we need a lot of patients so that students can examine or observe various cases that are happening across the UAE. So, these are the two major advantages GMC Hospitals offer compared to the other private hospitals in the UAE.
The New Economy: Now, you offer advanced medical and surgical treatments, tell us about these.
Akbar Moideen Thumbay: We offer advanced medical and surgical treatments across the spectrum of specialities in the hospitals. So, for example, some of the hospitals are concentrated on various specialities. The Sharjah facility for example is concentrating on dental care. The Ajman facility would be obstetrics and gynaecology. We do advanced surgeries in gynaecology. We deliver over 20 babies almost a day, which is quite a considerable number in the UAE. We have various other facilities. Fujairah for example is specialised in internal medicine, and we have neurosurgery, cardiac surgeries across the hospitals.
The diagnostic centre is again highly super-specialised. Most other hospitals use our lab facilities to report or to reconfirm test results
The New Economy: And tell us how these facilities support the treatments that you mentioned there.
Akbar Moideen Thumbay: Again, we have state-of-the-art equipment, state-of-the-art facilities across the hospitals. The Ajman facilities have four major operation theatres, some of them hybrid theatres with laminate floor and all the advancements that money can buy in terms of healthcare. Our radiology is completely full-fledged with, again, the latest technology being used for diagnostics.
The lab at the diagnostic centre is again highly super-specialised, where most of the other hospitals use our lab facilities to report or to reconfirm test results, etc. So, in terms of facilities, we’re a very advanced facility.
The New Economy: What can you tell us about the services you offer to your international patients?
Akbar Moideen Thumbay: We receive patients from across the world, starting from Africa, down to the Middle East itself, and Europe, southern Europe, including the western hemisphere as well.
These patients basically come to us for various reasons. The first reason… What happened was that Dubai, being a central city, connected by Emirates or various flights, made it very convenient for patients to fly into Dubai. And patients, especially African patients, who were travelling to India, had to route their flights through Dubai to go on to India. So that’s where we saw an opportunity, and we said, ‘Hey, you know, why go to India? Get the treatment right here in Dubai’. So, that’s where our patients started coming in from.
We get patients, again, from southern Europe, especially for dental work. One being a super-specialised centre and the prices being very affordable compared to Europe. These are the two main reasons that people started coming in.
And lastly I believe that, you know, healthcare is about personalised service. And that’s where we stand out. And – we had a person who used to be either from their own country or speaks their language, so that they’re comfortable, and they’re able to recoup during their surgical procedure in their home environment.
Healthcare is about personalised service, and that’s where we stand out
The New Economy: And finally, what are Thumbay Group’s plans for the future of healthcare?
Akbar Moideen Thumbay: Thumbay Group, headed by our president Mr Thumbay Moideen… Mr Thumbay Moideen has an incredible vision for healthcare, for the future. In fact, he envisions us to have 15 hospitals in the next seven years, taking our bed strength to above 1,000 beds. Making us the largest healthcare provider in the Middle East.
We as such in the hospitals have an incredible plan as well, to get into various specialities, including lots of tertiary care for surgeries that are not being done right now in the Middle East, and where people travel across from Middle East to get these surgeries done. So we want to be able to do those surgeries down here in Dubai itself.
Secondly, our healthcare is not only our hospitals, but also the pharmacies. And the diagnostic centres. And the labs. So, we are growing the labs to make it the most advanced lab in the country. And we’re expecting samples to be sent from right down from Africa to be tested in our labs.
The pharmacies as such is growing, and we want to position ourselves close to everybody’s home, so, you have easy access into everyone of GMC pharmacies. As such, I think we have a great vision for the future, and I look forward to working hard to achieve that vision.
The New Economy: Akbar, thank you.
Akbar Moideen Thumbay: Thank you, Nick.