Qatar has a developed healthcare system that is ranked the best in the Middle East. In fact, their hospital systems are ranked among the world’s top five in terms of quality of care. Qatar’s health care practitioners, both public and private, are highly proficient. The health system consists of free or subsidized public healthcare. Anyone living or working in Qatar can apply to access the subsidized public care or choose to visit a private hospital. Whether you choose to be treated privately or in a public facility, all Qatar’s hospitals offer quality services. Here is what you should know about hospitals in Qatar.
- Who can Access Healthcare in Qatar? All residents with a valid ID and residence permit, including expats, can access public healthcare in Qatar. You have to apply for a health card at the primary healthcare centres or online. If you do not have a health card or are a tourist, you will need to take out private health insurance or pay for private treatment. The ministry of public health oversees the healthcare system in Qatar. Health services are provided through two organizations;
- The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), which runs 27 regional centres across the country
- The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), a non-profit organization that runs facilities including 12 public hospitals, community clinics, and the national ambulance service.
- Health Insurance. Currently, Qatar does not have any compulsory health insurance plan. In 2013, the country introduced a scheme in 2013. The plan was to extend the same plan to foreigners, but the country dropped the scheme in 2015 after it became too expensive. Most expats and about 10% of the local population have private health insurance. As such, they can use private healthcare facilities and cover the costs not met by the subsidized scheme. Employers often provide private health insurance. If you are not employed, you can access the insurance through providers with whom you can make individual arrangements.
- Doctor and Specialists. You will find medical specialists of all kinds in Qatar working in both state and private sectors. However, you will mostly find them in the private sector. Qatar has 2.5 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants. Public GPs work in the primary health care centres and clinics, while most private GPs have their private practices. If you use public healthcare, you will need a GP referral to see a specialist. However, you can always book an appointment with a private specialist without a referral.
- Pharmacies. You will always find pharmacies in Qatar open late into the evening, and others open 24 hours in large cities like Doha. Most hospitals also have a pharmacy section. Qatar’s pharmacies provide prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines. You can also access subsidized prescriptions if you have a health card. Pharmacies in Qatar stock a wide range of products. However, brands may vary, and some common prescription medicine may not be available.
Qatar is a safe country, and no one should not encounter any health hazards when in Qatar.