Thanks to ongoing investment in the healthcare system, standards are quite high in the UAE, both at public as well as at private medical institutions. The country has, in fact, set all its public surgeries and hospitals the goal of being fully compliant with international health standards prior to 2018, with private facilities supposed to follow by the end of 2019 at the latest. What is more, structural changes to various ministries that were announced in 2016 and that too affect the Ministry of Health — which will be renamed — envision the introduction of a new independent entity to oversee all public hospitals in the UAE.
In the big expat-hubs Abu Dhabi and Dubai, you can even find so-called healthcare cities, which incorporate one or more hospitals, a number of outpatient medical centers, labs, educational, research and specialist institutes, as well as employ thousands of healthcare professionals: the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC in Abu Dhabi) and the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC). The latter is also a free economic zone, and as such welcomes many of the medical tourists that come to the UAE each year.
Next to these two healthcare cities, there are numerous hospitals to be found across the Emirates, both public and private.
Public hospitals in the UAE include, but are not limited to the following institutions:
Similarly, there is a long list of private, general hospitals you can go to, provided your insurance covers their services:
In contrast to many other countries, general practitioners in the UAE do not work from their own practices, but are instead found at so-called medical clinics or centers, or are directly affiliated with hospitals. When it comes to seeing a specialist, a referral from your GP is not always necessary (depending on your insurer), but highly recommended. Your doctor will, after all, best be able to point you in the right direction.
Due to the high percentage of expatriates living in the UAE in general and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in particular — estimates for example quote over 80% of foreign residents in the latter emirate — chances are you will not have any trouble finding English-speaking staff at most medical facilities. Even if you prefer your doctor to speak another language altogether you may be in luck: As the number of local medical personal does not manage to cover the demand, many healthcare professionals are expats themselves, hailing from around the globe.
Your colleagues and friends may be able to personally recommend someone suitable. Alternatively, check if your embassy/consulate provides a list of doctors who speak your native tongue and make sure to check with your respective health insurance provider which facilities are covered by your policy.
On the websites of the respective regulating bodies in the UAE, as well as the public insurance provider Daman, you can also search for hospitals and doctors in the UAE:
Next to the usual filter options according to location and medical specialty, in some cases the results can be further narrowed down based on the practitioners’ nationality or language skills, for example.
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