TBY talks to Dr. Misho Ravic, CEO of Dubai London Clinic (DLC), on the clinic's evolution, prospects for medical tourism, and the merger and acquisition market.

Dr. Misho Ravic
Dr. Misho Ravic, the Group’s Chairman and CEO, graduated in computer science and studied commercial law. He has 30 years of experience in establishing and running a wide range of highly successful businesses on several continents, and this has equipped him with a noteworthy global business perspective. He has always been passionate about quality healthcare and, having established the Dubai London Clinic in 1987, has expanded this to become the Dubai London Clinic and Specialty Hospital, one of the most renowned and longest established hospitals in Dubai. In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for services to education. He continues to expand and diversify Edulink Consultants’ portfolio of businesses.

How has DLC evolved in the last years?

Our first location in Dubai Galeria was established roughly 30 years ago, with two doctors and three other staff members. Today we have treated over one million patients across three branches in Dubai and a fully-fledged hospital with a total of 130 personnel. Dubai has developed and changed tremendously in every aspect over the last 30 years, and the health sector is no exception. We grew in parallel with the Emirate. When we opened there weren't any multidisciplinary medical clinics; they were largely single doctor operations that were run as such. The growth of Dubai and its large expat population increased the demand for the kind of multidisciplinary clinic model that we offered. When we started, Dubai had about 150 clinics. 30 years on we are the only one that has survived. The way we set up our health business is something that guaranteed not just our long-term survival, but our prosperity. Now there are 2,500 clinics in Dubai and the health sector has grown massively. It takes a while to establish your brand in the market, but we have achieved that over 30 years, and although we are not one of the largest, we are considered one of the best. We pay attention to health standards, quality, and customer service, and that has paid off. We would like to open another branch and a center of excellence, a European-style program, which would be the first of its kind in the UAE. We also want to build a new outpatient department that would also enable us to expand our inpatient department.

How will you be contributing to and participating in Dubai's mission to become a medical tourism hub?

Dubai has a lot of potential to become an international medical tourism hub. There are people living here and visiting from all over the world, and it is in a strategic location between Europe and the Far East. The problem is keeping up with demand, which is a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. For us to contribute to this medical tourism ambition, we have to grow, and grow quickly. Right now, we are trying to meet local demand, but eventually we would like to attract more and more foreign medical tourists. We have been looking into establishing a presence in the UK, as a gateway to the European market. Of course, medical tourism involves more than just medical care. It involves top-notch facilities, hospitality, tour packages, competitive pricing, transport, logistics, marketing and promotional activities, travel planning, visa issues, accommodating family members, and so on. Whatever we develop, we are certain to dovetail with the government's initiative; we will definitely be involved one way or another.

Do you expect to see more M&As in the UAE health sector?

That is a general trend that seeks to create economies of scale, which can make operations more efficient through size, and also enable businesses to take on larger and more ambitious projects. However, we are not a part of that process and are not interested in either acquiring or merging, or in being acquired. Our growth has been organic and we plan to continue that.

Dubai's medical sector is expected to grow at an annual rate of 13% by 2021. What is your outlook for Dubai's medical sector in the long term?

There is a bright future for the medical sector in Dubai, and its strong growth will continue. Considering the explosion of clinics and services in just the last 30 years, that phenomenal growth will most likely continue. We will continue to do what we have been doing for the past three decades. We have no intention of changing our policy or vision. It has served us and our patients well until now and will likely continue to do so in the future.