Healthcare in Saudi Arabia

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The standard of healthcare in Saudi Arabia is generally considered to be equal in quality to Western Europe and the USA.

Expats will benefit from numerous medical facilities in both the private and public sectors. For the most part, they won't need to worry about delays or waiting lists.

However, for highly specialised procedures, many expats seek treatment outside of the country.
 

Hospitals in Saudi Arabia


There are public, private and military hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Most expats use private hospitals and clinics, but their high standards come with a hefty price tag, so expats should make sure they're covered by health insurance.
 
Many of the staff at private hospitals in Saudi Arabia are expats themselves and numerous hospitals are affiliated with well-known foreign facilities – so the language gap shouldn't be an issue.
 

Health insurance in Saudi Arabia


Locals and expats in the public sector have access to state-sponsored healthcare coverage, but it's compulsory for non-Saudi nationals to have private medical insurance. It's usually the sponsoring employer's responsibility to provide their expat employees with medical cover. Expats should try to negotiate this into their contract if it isn't the case.
 

Medicines and pharmacies in Saudi Arabia


Medicines are widely available from pharmacies in Saudi Arabia, but expats should be aware of customs regulations before bringing medication into the country. For example, tranquillisers, anti-depressants and sleeping pills are banned. In rare cases it might be possible to get this medication with a doctor's letter and prescription. 
 
Most pharmacies are open from 9.30am to 1pm and from 4.30pm to 10.30pm, and hospitals often have a 24-hour pharmacy.
 

Health hazards in Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia is mostly desert and expats usually struggle to adapt to extreme temperatures that can soar above 113°F (45°C). Heat stroke and exhaustion are common, especially during the hottest months from May to September.

Dust storms can also make outdoor activities difficult, and can be hazardous to those with respiratory problems.
 

Emergency services in Saudi Arabia


Ambulances in Saudi Arabia are normally operated and controlled by police and government hospitals. For medical emergencies, call 997.

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