Muscat: Starcare Health Systems, part of UK's Starcare group, is setting up a 250-bed tertiary care hospital with a motto of saying 'Goodbye to Treatment Abroad.'
"We have already reached an agreement with the land owner and the process to obtain the approval of the Ministry of Health is underway," K. Jayan, director of Corporate Development at Starcare Health Systems, said in an interview with the Times of Oman.
The hospital aims at providing cancer treatment and performing heart surgeries and a number of other surgical operations. It will be commissioned by the end of 2016, he said.
The Oman division of Starcare Health Systems, UK plans to make an investment of OMR50 million to implement a number of projects in the coming years, including the launch of a brand for low-income families in the Sultanate, Jayan noted.
OMR50 million investment
"We will have a total investment of OMR50 million by the end of 2018 in Oman," Jayan said, noting that the high-quality services provided by Starcare have led to an increase in public confidence in the private health care sector.
"These days, we are receiving nearly 600 patients in the outpatient department daily and are doing more than 300 major surgeries every month," said Jayan about the performance of Starcare Hospital Muscat, a 50-bed multi-speciality hospital which was accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) of the United States within the first year of its establishment two years ago.
"The majority of our clientele are Omani nationals, and the rest are expatriates," said Jayan, who put the company's annual turnover at between OMR6 million to OMR10 million.
According to him, the reason for Starcare's popularity is that the public has accepted its quality standards and hygiene.
Jayan believes that four to five years ago, public confidence in the private health care sector was low, but given the quality of Starcare services and affordable cost, many patients who used to go to Germany or other countries to receive treatment are now choosing Starcare.
"We have people from more than 23 different nationalities working in this hospital and have over 35 specialities," Jayan explained, stating that highly-qualified consultants in the hospital are an asset to the company. "Over 35 visiting consultants are here. We do most of the major surgeries, especially in gynaecology, paediatrics, orthopaedics, etc.," he added.
Jayan also elaborated on the nature of Starcare's activities, saying that it manages hospitals and medical centres; invests in the health care industry in general and hospitals, medical centres and pharmacies in particular; and serves as a management consultant for those who want to implement health care projects.
Asked about the projects that Starcare has implemented recently and is going to initiate in the future, Jayan said, "As part of our expansion, we have acquired a multi-speciality medical centre in Al Khuwair."
"And we are currently managing another medical centre in Al Amerat."
According to Jayan, Starcare will be building the first private hospital in Buraimi with an investment of over OMR6 million, which is going to be a 50-bed multi-speciality and high-quality hospital.
He also informed that Starcare plans to establish a presence in Nizwa, Duqm, Barka, Al Mabelah, and many other places, noting that the company's expansion plan is through a mix of acquisitions and new projects.
Jayan also spoke about Starcare's plan to support patients from less-privileged backgrounds in Oman through the introduction of a brand called 'SafeCare', which will deliver more affordable but good-quality services to low-income families.
"We started our first hospital under this brand in Rajasthan, India, last month, and we will immediately introduce that brand in Oman," Jayan noted. "Its aim is to bring quality with affordability."
Asked about the prospects of the Sultanate becoming a medical tourism destination, Jayan said, "Oman has the potential to become a health care destination because of its tourism, governmental support and the friendly and lovely people in Oman."
All these factors are very helpful for this country to become a health care destination, but the private health sector should be strengthened to achieve this goal, Jayan said.
"The government sector is doing well, but when we look at the private health care sector in Oman, we have to grow a lot to reach that level," Jayan said, noting that more investment should be made in the private health sector.
The writer is an Iranian national, currently doing her internship with the Times of Oman.