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Healthcare in Bahrain has many things going for it.
Not only does the country offer high levels of medical care, but being a small country you’re never far from a hospital. This is in contrast to a number of other Middle Eastern countries where the best medical establishments are found almost exclusively in major urban areas, while more outlying areas suffer from a dearth of quality medical services.
In addition, Bahrain has become famous for its large number of efficiently-run hospitals meaning that waiting lists are minimal. One can realistically expect to see a doctor within 24-48 hours of requesting an appointment; much sooner if the situation is an emergency.
Lastly, as roughly 25% of the population are expats, it is not uncommon for doctors and nurses to speak fluent English. This helps to remove many potential language barriers and makes for higher levels of treatment.
As with many other Middle Eastern countries, each of which attract impressive numbers of expats each year, there is no such thing as a “free lunch” when it comes to medical care. Indeed, as an expat you will end up paying for healthcare services one way or another. These days health insurance for expats is mandatory though this may be provided in a number of ways depending on employment circumstances.
For example, at present small companies (with fewer than 50 employees) are obliged to contribute funds to the government to cover the costs of basic health insurance on your behalf.
For larger companies, however, the options are rather broader.
Here larger companies may opt to provide their own health insurance or pay into the government funds as per smaller enterprises.
Despite this mandatory health insurance via employers many expats still opt for private expat health insurance.
Private insurance often offers far greater levels of care than basic employer-issued policies. For example many expats benefit from private medical insurance by being able to visit private clinics and hospitals where standards of medical care are on par with the UK or USA.
In addition, many expat insurance policies offer additional features such as medical repatriation and dental insurance which cannot be found elsewhere.
It should be noted that while the standards of care for standard medical issues are considered high in Bahrain, it is not uncommon for the most serious cases to require transport to another country. Even many wealthy Bahrainis opt to seek medical assistance overseas where appropriate. Sadly, without appropriate insurance such an exercise is likely to be prohibitively expensive.
For a no-obligation expat healthcare quote for Bahrain please click here.
One rather unique aspect of the Bahraini healthcare system is that expats are required to attend two separate medical examinations. The first of these – typically the most detailed – is carried out in your home country. In essence your doctor will be required to issue you with a certificate of good health, and to confirm that you do not carry serious infectious diseases such as HIV or AIDs.
This document becomes an integral part of your acceptance into Bahrain. Upon arrival one will then visit a local doctor for a similar secondary health examination, though this in reality tends not to be as detailed.
Either way it is important to appreciate that these medical examinations are mandatory so should be planned for. When you are considering relocating to Bahrain it is wise to seek the latest information on the specific requirements of such an examination so you can be confident of obtaining the necessary paperwork.
In Bahrain it is not uncommon to find pharmaceuticals available over the counter which are prescription-only in your home country and vice versa. In addition note that sleeping pills and anti-depressants are banned in Bahrain due to their addictive properties. Expats should not attempt to bring such drugs into the country, and should be aware that obtaining them for all but the most serious medical conditions is likely to be problematic.
To ease your entry into Bahraini life it is smart to bring with you any medication you are currently being prescribed, together with the original prescription to confirm its legitimacy. Be sure to ask your doctor for the generic name of any drugs being taken as it may not be possible to find the brand you are familiar with – and this can create problems when seeking further supplies in Bahrain.
There are a number of nationwide pharmacy chains. Best-known are Alrahma Pharmacy, Wael Pharmacy and Bahrain Pharmacy, though please be aware that pharmaceuticals tend to be expensive in Bahrain.
Presently, besides standard vaccinations seen in most countries (such as measles, mumps and rubella) it is also recommended that expats visiting Bahrain ensure their tetanus is up to date.
Depending on lifestyle it may be appropriate to receive the following additional vaccinations:
Visitors should note that an outbreak of cholera was experienced in 2015, so visitors should take care with drinking water etc.
For regularly updated health guidance please see: http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/locations/bahrain/
To request an ambulance dial 999 from any landline or mobile phone while in Bahrain.
Bahrain is impressively well-served by a wide range of high-quality medical facilities. The following list of hospitals in Bahrain provides details of many of the most popular and highly-regarded establishments.
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Expatriate Group & Expatriate Healthcare are trading styles of Strategic Insurance Services Limited who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). FCA Firm reference Number is 307133. Strategic Insurance Services Limited is authorised to carry on Regulated Activities in accordance with the permissions granted by the FCA under PART IV of the Financial Services and Markets ACT 2000.