Kuwait Report

German medical university plans
new hospital complex in Kuwait


Over the past 15 years Hamburg’s renowned University Medical Center (UKE) has become increasingly popular with Arab patients seeking specialist treatment abroad. Now UKE’s consultancy branch, UKE Consult & Management, is drawing up plans for a brand-new hospital complex with cutting-edge technology in Kuwait. Mathias Marx reports.

Out of a thousand international patients visiting Hamburg’s University Medical Center (UKE) in 2007 every other hailed from the Middle East. This figure not only catapults the UKE into the top three of Germany university clinics and helped generate a turnover of 5.5 million Euros in 2007, it also opens the door to much wider cooperation between the specialist hospital and Arab states.

“Often the treatment of a patient from abroad is the gateway to bigger projects,” explains UKE Consult & Management (UCM) CEO Dr Mathias Goyen. “Successful therapy is recognised and leads to new contacts.”

New contracts

This was the case three years ago, when a female patient from Kuwait received intensive care. Her son, head of an important construction holding company, was so impressed that he approached UKE’s CEO to inquire about the chances of building a similar hospital in his country. The result: UCM is currently undertaking a feasibility study to be completed by year-end as the basis for a plan to construct the al-Shefa’a Medical City. The project includes a hospital with a capacity of between 150 and 200 beds, rehabilitation facilities, a hotel, apartments and a shopping mall. According to UCM, investment will total several hundred million Euros. “The hospital will be the biggest in Kuwait,” says Goyen.

The project reveals UCM’s ambitious strategy: Founded in 2006 as a joint subsidiary of UKE and Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, its objective is two-pronged: to market German university medicine worldwide and to improve the quality of medical care in other regions of the world such as the Middle East, East Asia, India and Russia.

In its activities UCM draws heavily on the mother hospital’s vast range of medical expertise: UKE, the largest medical centre in the northern part of Germany, consists of 80 clinics, polyclinics and advanced research institutes. The hospital specialises in oncology, neuroscience, cardiology and heart surgery as well all types of transplants. By offering special treatment to Arab patients including halal food, prayer room, interpreters as well as accommodation for next of kin UKE has become a favourite with patients from the Middle East, regardless of stiff competition from Geneva and London. Such popularity is now beginning to pay dividends.

Uniquely, UCM boasts a team of medical and business experts with expertise in both start-up-and-implementation management as well as turnaround management.

Blueprint for Arab clients

In comparison to competitors UCM offers a series of unique selling points, the main being UKE’s brand-new hospital complex in Hamburg which is nearing completion: “We have a living reference. Anyone interested in building a new facility can come here and see for himself how we are doing it,” elaborates Goyen. Planning, design and project implementation – the knowhow gathered by completing a 730-bed hospital in time to replace the old one is invaluable. UCM’s CEO is quick to point out that foreign delegations regularly take a look at the project.

The plan to export Hamburg’s Medical Prevention Center (MPCH) to Kuwait might spearhead the bigger project: UCM has signed a five-year management contract for such a centre. Once agreed, UCM will build the centre for approximately five million Euros. At the centre patients will receive a comprehensive health check-up in four hours, including a radiation-free MRI body scan. Doctors will be recruited locally. UCM will only fill the head positions. Based on the build-operatetransfer formula, once the management contract expires responsibility would fall to Kuwaiti experts.

ate of upload: 16th May 2009

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