(MENAFN - Arab News) The Ministry of Health has started recruiting 3,500 expatriate medical professionals including doctors and nurses for vacancies at various hospitals across the Kingdom.
Officials from the ministry visited the Indian cities of Hyderabad, Cochin and New Delhi to select 714 specialist doctors to work at hospitals in Jeddah, Tabuk, Taif, Riyadh and other parts of the Kingdom.
The ministry has also started to recruit doctors from Pakistan and Egypt.
According to sources in India, the team conducted interviews for 353 vacancies. The doctors selected are expected to arrive in the Kingdom shortly. The remaining vacancies would be filled in the next few weeks, the sources said.
A total of 313 specialist doctors have been selected from Delhi, 256 from Hyderabad and 145 from Cochin, the sources said. Advertisements detailing vacancies are published widely in leading Indian newspapers, job portals and medical journals.
T ministry's requirements are handled by 14 authorized recruitment agencies across India. The interviews are conducted personally by a Saudi committee comprising officials from various regional directorates and specialist doctors from the ministry.
The Saudi government's spending on health has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 18 percent between 2005 and 2012.
The total Saudi budget was SR690 billion in 2012 compared to SR580 billion in 2011, an increase of 19 percent. However, total spending on the healthcare sector increased 26 percent from SR68.7 billion in 2011 to SR86.5 billion in 2012. This represented 12.5 percent of the total budget in 2012 compared to 11.8 percent in 2011.
Based on various data points from the ninth development plan of the Saudi government, covering the period 2010 to 2014, social and healthcare spending account for 19 percent of the total budgeted expenditure, equivalent to approximately SR274 billion.