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Seeking Medical Help — Hospitals and Doctors in the UAE

When it comes to medical care, you are close to being spoilt for choice while living in the UAE, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Whether private or public, numerous hospitals as well as medical clinics and centers with general practitioners make sure your healthcare needs are covered.
Thanks to high healthcare standards and multilingual staff, you are in good hands in the UAE.
  • Both public as well as private healthcare providers have high standards.
  • General practitioners are not found at single practices, but at medical centers, clinics, or hospitals.
  • Thanks to prevalent English-language skills and large numbers of expat medical staff, the language barrier should not pose a problem when seeking medical help in the UAE.

Healthcare Standards and Institutions

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.

The Bigger, the Better? Healthcare Cities and 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:

  • Abu Dhabi: Al Mafraq Hospital and Madinat Zayed Hospital, as well as the General Hospital of the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City
  • Ajman: Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Hospital
  • Dubai: Rashid Hospital, Dubai Hospital, and Hatta Hospital
  • Fujairah: Al Fujairah Hospital
  • Sharjah: Al Qassimi Hospital
  • Ras al Khaimah: Saqr Hospital and Sham Hospital
  • Umm al Quwain: U.A.Q. Hospital

Similarly, there is a long list of private, general hospitals you can go to, provided your insurance covers their services:

  • Abu Dhabi: Ahalia Hospital, Al Salamah Hospital, Burjeel Hospital, Dar Al Shifaa Hospital, Hopital Franco-Emirien, Lifeline Hospital, NMC Specialty Hospital, and Oasis Hospital
  • Ajman: GMC Hospital Ajman and Ibin Sina Hospital
  • Dubai: American Hospital Dubai, Aster Hospital, Canadian Specialist Hospital, Cedars Jebel Ali International Hospital, International Modern Hospital, Iranian Hospital (Red Crescent affiliate), Lifeline Hospital, Medcare Hospital Jumeirah, New Medical Center, and Zulekha Hospital Dubai
  • Fujairah: GMC Hospital Fujairah
  • Sharjah: Al Zahra Private Hospital, Central Private Hospital, GMC Hospital Sharjah, The Royal Hospital, University Hospital (teaching hospital), and Zulekha Hospital Sharjah
  • Ras al Khaimah: Al Zahrawi Hospital and RAK Hospital
  • Umm al Quwain: Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital

Family Doctors and Specialist Referrals

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.

Finding the Right Doctor or Hospital

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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