Explore the ins and outs of accessing hospitals in Qatar, from costs and treatments to the best hospitals on the peninsula.
Visiting a hospital can be a stressful, frightening experience, and doubly so if you are living in a foreign country. Fortunately for expats in Qatar, this tiny country has a healthcare system that ranks among the best in the world. Staffed by a truly global medical staff, hospitals in Qatar are safe, efficient, and reliable.
To ensure you know what to expect from hospitals in Qatar, we look at everything you need to know, from emergency treatment to discharge. This article covers:
- Hospitals in Qatar
- How to access hospital treatment in Qatar
- Emergency treatment in Qatar
- Hospital stays in Qatar: what to expect
- Hospital costs in Qatar
- Being discharged from hospitals in Qatar
- Visiting someone in a hospital in Qatar
- The best hospitals in Qatar
- List of hospitals in Qatar
- Useful resources
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Hospitals in Qatar
Qatar’s hospitals are part of the wider Qatari health system that was ranked 1st in the Middle East and 5th globally as recently as 2019. Like many countries, the system includes both public and private institutions. Government-funded hospitals and clinics are free for Qataris and accessible to expats, provided they pay some associated fees. However, to access discounted prices you’ll need to get your Health Card. For more information on this, read our guide to the Qatari healthcare system.
Alternatively, private hospitals and clinics abound throughout the peninsula. These typically offer the same treatments and services as their public counterparts. However, unless you want to pay out of your own pocket, you’ll need health insurance to cover the costs associated with these hospitals. For more information, be sure to read our article on health insurance in Qatar.
How to access hospital treatment in Qatar
Access to hospital treatment will depend on the kind of treatment you are seeking. If you need emergency healthcare, you should go to your nearest hospital immediately and you will be taken care of. However, if you are seeking non-emergency treatment, you should go through your primary care doctor.
Depending on your insurance, your doctor will either directly refer you to a specialist or provide information about where to get the treatment you need. When going to a hospital, be sure to bring your insurance card, Qatar ID, passport, and a form of payment for any possible fees. The process for getting a hospital appointment will vary by hospital and by the desired service, so be sure to do your research.
Emergency treatment in Qatar
In the event of an emergency, do not hesitate to immediately call 999. This number connects you with ambulances, the police, and the fire department, so be sure to calmly explain what you need. Fortunately, hospital staff in Qatar are highly trained in emergency medicine. No matter if you’re a citizen, resident, or tourist, hospitals will serve you in an emergency, so don’t delay to get the help you need.
For more information read our look at emergency numbers and services in Qatar.
Hospital stays in Qatar: what to expect
What a hospital stay looks like in Qatar, will depend on the hospital and the services you’re seeking. For example, if you are in a private hospital – and willing to pay – you may be able to stay in a deluxe suite with amenities like complimentary drinks, newspaper delivery, and state-of-the-art medical beds.
Alternatively, if you are in a public hospital, you will likely receive a more “no-frills” stay in the hospital. Indeed, keep in mind that, unless medical isolation is necessary, non-Qataris in public hospitals are usually placed in communal rooms that hold four to five people. If you’re interested in a private room – and are prepared to pay for it – be sure to speak with your hospital attendants upon intake; fair warning, though, public hospital private rooms usually have waitlists.
Hospital costs in Qatar
Health insurance for hospital costs in Qatar
In October 2021, the Qatari government announced that employers will now be required to provide health insurance coverage for expats and their families. However, this new law is expected to go into effect six months from the announcement, in May 2022.
So, given this change, it’s important that you speak to your employer about coverage options; your costs will depend on the size of your family, what services you’re seeking, and the insurance that your employer provides.
Alternatively, many expats moving to Qatar choose to sort out their health insurance before moving. There are a number of expat-friendly global health insurers providing coverage in Qatar, including:
However, whatever type of insurance you take out in Qatar, there is a number of questions you should ask ahead of time. For example, what portion of costs you’d be responsible for in routine visits as well as in emergency or acute care. Are pre-existing conditions covered? What about maternity costs? Will your insurance directly pay hospitals, or will you need to be reimbursed? Be sure to do your research and ask your questions before signing up.
Being discharged from hospitals in Qatar
Discharge procedures vary greatly depending on the hospital and the services you receive in the hospital. As you can imagine, your discharge instructions after giving birth will be very different from those you receive after open-heart surgery! When your doctor determines you’re ready for discharge, you’ll receive some paperwork, any prescriptions, as well as your bill.
The most important thing is that you understand how to take care of yourself once you get home; specifically, you should know under what circumstances to contact your doctor or to seek medical attention.
Additionally, ensure you understand where, how, and how often you need to engage in any aftercare, like physiotherapy. And, of course, make sure to ask all your burning questions before leaving the hospital. If your doctor recommends some kind of rehabilitation, you can always call the Rehabilitation Helpline through Tawasol. The number to call is +974 40260400.
Visiting someone in a hospital in Qatar
Visiting hours and limitations will vary depending on the hospital and whether it is public or private. Private hospitals have some more flexibility to set rules, while government-funded hospitals must all follow the same guidelines.
However, be aware that Covid-19 has greatly affected visitor policies. For example, the public Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has enacted stricter visitor policies at various times during the pandemic. This includes limiting hours and barring food, flowers, and drinks in non-COVID facilities. To find updates, check out HMC’s Instagram page. However, for private hospitals, you’ll need to check with the individual hospital.
The best hospitals in Qatar
Here are some of the best hospitals in Qatar:
Hamad Medical Corporation
Recently, the public-funded HMC was recognized as the first healthcare system in the world to have every hospital in its network become accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI). The JCI is an American independent, non-profit organization that accredits and certifies healthcare organizations throughout the world. So, if a hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission, that hospital is recognized as a leader in healthcare and patient safety.
Sidra is a private, JCI accredited hospital that provides specialized care for women and children in Doha. Some of its women’s services include gynecology and obstetrics, perinatal and maternal medicine, as well as urgent care and pain treatment.
Sidra’s wide-ranging children’s services include general pediatrics, intensive care, a poison center, as well as mental health services. So, with its specialized focus, you can rest assured that, should you need it, you’ll be well-taken care of at Sidra.
Al Emadi Hospital
Al Emadi was the first private healthcare organization in Qatar to receive a Diamond Level – the highest level – an accreditation from Accreditation Canada International (ACI). ACI is an independent non-profit organization that assesses healthcare providers globally and recognizes those that meet stellar international standards. Specifically, Al Emadi offers a range of medical specialties, from urology and cardiology to audiology and plastic surgery.
Aspetar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital
With its Diamond Level accreditation from the ACI, Aspetar is a private hospital in Doha that focuses exclusively on orthopedics and sports-related injuries and treatments. Specifically, services include nutrition counseling, sports podiatry, sports psychology, and sports dentistry. Aspetar also hosts a Sports Spine Center, a Sports Cartilage Center, and a Sports Groin Pain Center. Named a FIFA Medical Center of Excellence, Aspetar is where you need to go if you’re an elite athlete in the Middle East.
Doha Clinic Hospital
Doha Clinic Hospital (DCH) has a Platinum Level – the second-highest level – ACI accreditation and offers a range of specializations. These include neurosurgery, dermatology, psychiatry, speech pathology, and more. DCH is a private hospital that also offers outpatient care.
For more information, check out our article on doctors in Qatar.
List of hospitals in Qatar
Here is a list of the hospitals in Qatar
- Al-Ahli Hospital (private)
- American Hospital (private)
- Aspetar (private)
- Aster Hospital (private)
- Doha Clinic Hospital (private)
- Al Emadi Hospital (private)
- Hamad General Hospital (public)
- Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital (public)
- Heart Hospital (public)
- Al Khor Hospital (public)
- Rumailah Hospital (public)
- Sidra Medicine (private)
- The Cuban Hospital (public)
- Turkish Hospital (private)
- Al Wakra Hospital (public)