Pursuing Public-Private Partnerships in Saudi Arabia with First Hospital Project


Under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, the country has been activating the private sector’s participation in its healthcare transformation, advancing the public-private partnership (PPP) model to step up the rollout of new and more efficient healthcare infrastructures. After issuing a string of EOIs, the Kingdom’s first hospital PPP project has just been awarded.


The private sector is often more efficient and effective; that is how the country was able to deliver better services for the same or even less cost

Tarek El Rahbani, senior managing director, Growth Emerging Markets-South (Middle East & Africa), Boston Scientific

Healthcare Transformation

Within the framework of its Vision 2030 to diversify the Kingdom’s economy and develop public service sectors, Saudi Arabia has undertaken a major transformation of its healthcare system. Faced with a growing and aging population and the rise of non-communicable and lifestyle diseases, the country has pushed to expand its mandatory insurance coverage, restructure government bodies to build efficiency and increase its infrastructure capacity.

To meet the needs of this widespread transformation, the government has looked to privatisation, harnessing the private sector’s capital and expertise to advance its agenda while shifting the Ministry of Health’s role from health care provider to regulator.

“As part of the country’s healthcare transformation we continue to see a growing need for more centres, especially in remote areas, which the government is now trying to meet through PPPs. In the past, the government oversaw the building, operation, and maintenance of hospitals, but they have now realised that the private sector has an important role to play, providing upfront investment and delivering healthcare in return. The private sector is often more efficient and effective; that is how the country was able to deliver better services for the same or even less cost,” said Tarek El Rahbani, senior managing director, Growth Emerging Markets-South (Middle East & Africa) at Boston Scientific in PharmaBoardroom interview.


Laying the Groundwork for the PPP Model

To encourage the participation of the private sector in its healthcare system and attract foreign investment, Saudi Arabia has been laying the institutional and regulatory groundwork for several years. In 2017, the government created the National Centre for Privatization & PPP (NCP) to manage its privatisation ambitions and introduced legislation to permit foreign ownership of the country’s healthcare infrastructures.

The next step came in 2021 with the Public Sector Participation Law, which established the regulatory framework around privatisation and PPPs. That year, the NCP issued a report that identified 59 initiatives to generate USD 42 billion in revenues via asset sales and PPPs by 2025 and in October, 2022, the Minister of Health, Fahad bin Abdulrahman Al-Jalajel, announced that Saudi Arabia would offer more than 100 healthcare projects over the next five years through PPPs.

The projects named included developing and operating two medical cities and setting up and running a 900-bed hospital to provide medical rehabilitation and long-term care services.


Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Home Care Projects in the Works

In its efforts to get these PPP projects underway, the Saudi Ministry of Health in conjunction with the NCP has issued a number of Expression of Interest (EOI) announcements, the latest being for three healthcare PPPs in the Riyadh and Dammam regions for the building and operating of a long-term care and skilled nursing home facility, a medical rehabilitation hospital and a home healthcare project in both regions.

But the biggest news for the advancement of the Saudi healthcare PPP agenda is the Al Ansar General Hospital contract, the first hospital PPP project to be awarded under the government privatization programme’s hospital initiative. After a request for proposals, a consortium of Tamasuk Holding Company and Alghanim International were granted the project among the nine companies that put in a bid for it.

Located in Almadinah Almunawwarah, the hospital will have a capacity of 244 beds, which exceeds the clinical capacity of the previous facility by 170 percent.

Find out more about Saudi Arabia’s healthcare revamp in InFocus: The Future of Healthcare in the GCC.

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