Having access to healthcare is important for anyone considering a move to a new country such as Dubai.
Healthcare is important if you are re-location to any country but investors in property in Dubai should relax as their hospitals are excellent and offer a free or very low cost public health service for Dubai nationals and, in certain circumstances this is also open to expatriates and tourists.
For some time however, Dubai has been encouraging medical insurance for employees and in May 2007, it was announced that a unified health insurance system would be put into place. From 1st January 2008, all companies will have to insure their workers, while tourists with a visa for two months or more will also be required to have health insurance.
Although the Dubai health care system is also open to tourists for emergencies, they are advised to take out medical insurance to cover private medical treatment.
Many of the large projects such as Dubai Sports City include medical facilities in their plans and provide all main medical services, along with a 24-hour emergency service. Sports City, even offers sports medicine and rehabilitation clinics.
GPs of many nationalities practice in Dubai making it possible to find a doctor who speaks your language. Doctors must have their qualifications verified by the Dubai Ministry of Health before they can begin work in the region. Many advertise in the yellow pages, but it is advisable to find one through recommendation or by asking at your embassy.
Most GPs work in clinics where it is usual to make an appointment although it is often possible to see a doctor immediately. Payment is expected at the time of the consultation and a receipt is issued so that fees can be reclaimed from your insurer.
Clinics have varied opening times, but the normal hours are between 9.00 am and 1.00 pm and again from 5.00 pm to 8.30 pm.
Hospitals and large clinics are open 24 hrs a day and patients are usually attended to immediately.
Private hospitals in Dubai have luxurious surroundings and the cost of these is directly related to the level of luxury you receive. Your medical insurance company will inform you whether there are any restrictions as to which hospitals you are allowed to use.
Most of Dubai's water supply is from desalinated water and while this is perfectly safe to drink, the majority of the local population prefer to drink bottled water.
Most medicines are easily available in Dubai and at least one pharmacy in the city is open 24 hours. To find the duty pharmacy, look in the local press or phone the municipality emergency number: Dubai 04 2232323.
Most pharmacies are open from 9.30am to 1pm and from 4.30 to 8.30pm or later, Saturdays to Thursdays.
Emergency ambulance: 998
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