Bahrain has an advanced healthcare system - make the most of it
Time Out Bahrain staff
There’s no need to suffer in silence when we have access to such an advanced healthcare system. Here’s what to do when you’re sick in Bahrain.
Every country and continent has a different medical landscape which can often be a little tricky to navigate. We are very lucky here in Bahrain to have access to one of the region’s most advanced healthcare systems, and locals and expatriates alike have access to both a budget-friendly national health service and cutting-edge private hospitals.
Primary care The Ministry of Health provides primary health care through 24 health centres and three health clinics around Bahrain. It works in a similar way to the UK’s National Health Service, as you sign up to your local neighbourhood centre or clinic. Bahraini citizens receive free treatments while expatriates pay just BD3 for each visit. Here, you’ll find a whole host of services on offer whether it’s preventative (family planning or special needs for example), curative (management of chronic diseases or minor surgeries) or supportive (physiotherapy etc.). For more information on national health services, visit www.moh.gov.bh.
Secondary care The main government hospital in Bahrain is the Salmaniya Medical Complex which is a multi-specialty health care facility that provides everything from emergency to tertiary care to all residents of Bahrain.
You may be referred here by your GP at the local health clinic or you can access their services and specialists via the private clinic within the hospital (you’ll pay more but it’s still much less expensive than at the private hospitals).
Private healthcare Many of Bahrain’s hospitals are run privately and to a high standard so you can choose to register with these too. They are generally known for their various specialties, quality of equipment or which budget they cater to. Here you can also by-pass the GP referral phase and book an appointment directly with your chosen specialist. You’ll find decent services and the latest equipment at King Hamad Hospital (www.khuh.org.bh; 1744 4444), Royal Bahrain Hospital (www.royalbahrainhospital.com; 1724 6800) and Bahrain Specialist Hospital (www.bsh.com.bh; 1781 2080). American Mission in Manama and Saar (www.amh.org.bh; 1779 0025) is known for its lower cost services.
Emergencies If you have an accident or fall violently sick then call 999 for an ambulance. Salmaniya Medical Complex is the responding A&E department but many private hospitals also have emergency rooms and services. They are generally open 24 hours but it’s worth phoning ahead. Ambulance services are known to be a little slow so it’s often better to head to your nearest hospital. Medical insurance Even though we have access to very low cost services, it’s advisable to get medical insurance while living in Bahrain as private healthcare can be expensive if you’re paying as you go. Your company should offer basic cover at least but, if you’re unemployed or in a very small company, there are plenty of insurance companies and packages on offer that cover most budgets. Try Axa (www.axa-gulf.com) and bnl (www.bnl4life.com). Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be sent a card which you should carry with you at all times in case of an emergency. Present this at the clinic or hospital (they have a dedicated insurance desk) and complete the necessary forms. Depending on your insurance, you might need to pay a fee of BD10, a percentage of the consultation fee, or the whole bill which you can claim back later.
Dentists There are plenty of dentists in Bahrain whether they’re with a company, part of a hospital, or private practice, and you can make an appointment direct. Prices can be steep but, for the most part, the quality of service is worth it. In many cases your insurance won’t cover dental but you can either top up your cover, pay a premium, or simply pay as you go. Try Seef Dental (www.seefdental.com; 1758 7991).
Opticians These can be found at Bahrain’s main shopping malls and you can often book an eye test immediately. Try Yateem Optician (www.yateemgroup.com; 1725 3397) or Ehsan Optics (www.ehsanoptics.com; 1722 4478), both of which you’ll find everywhere on the island including at the malls.
For ophthalmologists, you can contact your local clinic or one of the listed private hospitals as they will offer specialist outpatient and non-surgical treatments, as well as corrective surgeries, depending on your needs.