Dubai Healthcare Overview
Owing to Dubai’s population and the numerous medical facilities in the private and public sectors, long waiting lists are almost unheard of.
For specialised treatment, however, it’s sometimes necessary to seek medical assistance outside Dubai, and locals who can afford it often do so. Members of the ruling families and wealthy Arabs invariably have all major operations outside their own territory, particularly in London and American cities. Although some of Dubai’s doctors and medical staff are local, the vast majority are foreign and were trained in their home countries.
Dubai now has a public health service providing free or very low cost health care for its nationals and it’s important to note that these services are also available to expatriates. For some time, however Dubai has now introduced laws so that businesses have to provide medical insurance for their employees. Tourists visiting Dubai should have travel insurance that includes cover for private medical treatment, but they also have access to state medical facilities in the case of emergencies.
Among expats, common health problems include respiratory problems caused by sand and dust in the air – a situation exacerbated by continuous building work in most states. Hard work and long hours in often extreme heat can also affect the immune system and compromise the body’s ability to counter illness. Expatriates can suffer sunstroke and sunburn. In the summer, humidity causes added discomfort, with eye infections common. Dehydration is also a threat and is a potentially fatal condition that shouldn’t be underestimated – not only by those working outdoors but also by anyone playing outdoor sports.
The winter months of October to March, however, bring some of the best weather anywhere in the world, with continuous warm sunshine generating a feeling of well-being and providing the opportunity for a wholesome, outdoor lifestyle. Good weather is also beneficial to mental health, and people in Dubai tend to be happier and livelier than those who have to cope with cold, wet, depressing climates.
All cities and major towns in the UAE have at least one modern hospital and usually several others with highly trained staff and state-of-the-art equipment. When choosing a hospital, your best bet is to seek recommendations from colleagues and friends.
There are several different types of hospital, including public and private hospitals. Some hospitals in the private sector are luxuriously appointed and could easily pass as five-star hotel accommodation. Their prices are at a similar level.
Most of Dubai’s private hospitals have an out-patients’ department and an accident and emergency unit, although casualties are likely to be directed towards public hospitals by the emergency services, e.g. in the case of road accidents.
The term ‘clinic’ is used to denote a general practitioner’s surgery.
There’s little overcrowding in hospitals and clinics in Dubai, where hospitals and major clinics are open 24 hours a day and usually operate on a first come, first served basis. Arabic and English are widely spoken, English being frequently used in private hospitals, where many staff and most patients are foreign. Accommodation in private hospitals is generally in single rooms rather than wards, and parents can stay with their children. Costs for accommodation vary considerably, according to whether a hospital is super-luxurious or more modest. Treatment costs usually vary according to the standard of accommodation. Dubai is served by excellent doctors, and there’s a high ratio of doctors to patients.
Dubai Health Authority
The Dubai Health Authority provides a vast array of services across different domains, both in the physical domain and online.
Health services are provided in three main hospitals (Dubai Hospital, Rashid Hospital and Al Wasl Hospital), in speciality centres and in Primary Health Care clinics, in addition to the online services provided to a vast community of users including the public, private health professionals, investors and others.
The directory of services lists the most important services that DHA provides. It is a primary reference point for the community members wondering about service access and usage information for both online and offline services.
Dubai Emergency Hospital Numbers:
Dubai Hospital 04 2195000
Rashid Hospital 04 2192000
Al Wasl Hospital 04 2193000
Doctors are administered either by the Ministry of Health. Many of Dubai’s doctors come from Europe, the USA, Egypt, India and Pakistan, and their qualifications are verified by the Ministries before they’re allowed to practise in the region. Alternative medicine practitioners aren’t as common as they are in Europe and the USA, and you should check that they’ve been given state registration before using them. On the other hand, there are excellent antenatal and obstetrics services throughout the region, in both the public and private sectors; if you don’t have private cover, the public services have a first class reputation.
Doctors are allowed to advertise and commonly do but it’s best to choose a doctor according to word-of-mouth recommendation. If you have private health cover, you can change your doctor as you feel necessary, make appointments easily and in some instances simply walk in and see a doctor. Doctor’s appointments in the public sector are normally given within 24 to 72 hours of the request.
If making use of public health facilities, however, you’re recommended to attend in person to ensure that you obtain help quickly, rather than relying on the telephone appointment system. Surgery hours vary but there are always two periods, usually between 9am and 1pm, and from 5 to 8.30pm. A same-day appointment can usually be arranged, and in an emergency you will be seen very quickly.