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Expatriate Health Insurance News: Expats unaware of UEA's healthcare facilities

A large number of expatriates in the United Arab Emirates are still travelling abroad to get treatment for medical conditions, it has emerged.

According to a study carried out by the Dubai Health Authority, the reputation of medical care in the country is lagging behind the standard actually available.

Of the 2,000 people interviewed in the three-year study, ten per cent said they don't even seek the advice of a local doctor before travelling overseas to be treated.

The reasons given for making this decision were a lack of adequate equipment and staff without the relevant skills, reports The National.

Other reasons stated included the communication channels between doctors and patients not being properly open and the time it takes to book a doctor's appointment.

Dr Suhail Kazim, the medical director of Medcare Hospital in Dubai, said: "Quite a lot of them [patients] are not very well aware of what facilities are present inside the country.

"A major part lies in the patient not being well informed… and I do accept that there is some sort of a deficiency in the patient-doctor relationship."

He went onto say that it is necessary for doctors to build up a rapport with their patients in order for confidence to be built up over time.

Without this those seeking treatment do not believe they are getting the best care available and go elsewhere.

While there are some very good medical services in the United Arab Emirates, Dr Kazim acknowledged that there are areas where it is lacking.

These include the aftercare associated with cancer, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which are not widely available.

Dr Kazim said: "They do have them available but only in Abu Dhabi or Al Ain. For many cancer patients, it becomes a bit of a hassle, actually, that quite soon after the operation they have to be going to and fro between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, so that becomes a major issue."

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