World-class medical care is offered at private and public healthcare centres across the UAE, where you will find English-speaking staff and internationally trained medical teams in most hospitals and clinics.
For general non-emergency medical care, most hospitals in the UAE have a clinic where you can turn up, present your insurance or health card and wait to see a general practitioner.
These services usually operate on a first-come-first-served basis so waiting times can vary dramatically. Early evenings and Sunday mornings are generally a busy time and best avoided if possible. While some people like the convenience of walk-in clinics, others prefer to register with a practice where they are familiar with the administrative procedures and can see the same doctor on return visits.
Medical clinics are widespread throughout the city, providing access to everything from physiotherapy to cosmetic surgery as well as general medical care – and offer both a walk-in service and appointment booking system.
The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company – SEHA runs a network of one-stop-shop ambulatory care clinics, which offer easy access to primary and specialist care. Services offered include family medicine, x-rays, dentistry, urgent care, maternity, physiotherapy and paediatrics.
There are over 30 clinics across Abu Dhabi listed at www.ahs.ae with most covered by your Daman card.
With the exception of emergency care, you will need a health card to access government health services in the UAE.
Benefits of a health card
A government health card costs Dhs.500 and entitles you to low cost medical treatment at public hospitals and clinics. It can be applied for at any government hospital or online. You will need your residence visa to apply. Even if you already have access to private health insurance, it is perhaps sensible to have a health card as well, as not all policies will cover you for certain treatments and it may be cheaper to go to a government hospital or clinic.
See Useful Links for a list of the main government hospitals in the UAE
If you have private health insurance, you will have access to a network of private hospitals and clinics.
Levels of insurance cover vary depending on your policy; dental care, maternity and screening tests aren't usually covered as standard, and you may need to have been on the policy for a year before you can receive maternity cover.
Always check whether a clinic or hospital is part of your insurance network before your appointment, to make sure you don't end up having to pay the full costs. Some companies offer direct billing, whereby the insurer pays the hospital or clinic directly and you only pay a nominal fee. Others require you to pay the cost of the consultation, treatment and medication up front and then file a claim to the insurer. If your employer is paying for your insurance, your employment contract will state whether your spouse and dependants are included in the policy. Otherwise, you may need to cover the cost of insuring your family yourself.