Monday, August 01, 2016

Keeping in touch

It has been over nine months since I left KSA. In these nine odd months, a lot of changes have happened globally, and many in the Kingdom as well. Their strategy of undercutting international oil prices has backfired on them so badly that the country is reeling under losses and has moved on from a budget with profit to a budget with deficit. Petroleum prices have been raised, a lot of expatriates are being sent back home or are languishing in the Kingdom without wages or without a job, and the monarchy is considering other ways of raising capital and doing business with the world. 

In such circumstances, many doctors are also reconsidering their options. Those from India and other upcoming nations are already contemplating return to their homeland. In the construction industry, people are in so much trouble that some are left to fend for themselves by resorting to begging. There is a sense that Saudi Arabia may be in more trouble in the years to come. The Nitaqat movement started by King Abdullah has urged companies to substitute expatriates with Saudi citizens. Many thousands of semi-skilled and unskilled workers have been issued exit visas and have been and are being deported.

Doctors' jobs are, for the time being, secure as Saudi doctors are few and far between, but it is estimated that their numbers will grow as more and more Saudis graduate from medical schools. The coming decade may see many Saudis displacing general practitioners and resident doctors in the hospitals. Over the ensuing few decades, there will be a run on posts of specialists as well. Saudi Arabian tertiary medical centres will, however, need super-specialists for a long, long time to come.

The writing is on the wall. Beware.

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