As with other GCC countries, it has a mix of public and private hospitals. Expatriates can attend either, but have to pay at both, so health insurance is recommended although not yet compulsory. This is set to change, however, with Bahrain expected to enforce insurance cover for large companies very soon. According to the government’s 2010-14 health improvement strategy, expatriate health insurance will be made compulsory in 2014. Rates on cover are much more competitive through corporate entities, so expatriates are advised to seek insurance through their employers. Only Bahrain-based firms are allowed to sell policies, which means brokers often sell policies on behalf of major firms. The UK’s Bupa health insurance, for example, is sold through local broker Al-Ahlia Insurance Company.

Expatriates seeking medical treatment can visit one of 16 private or five public hospitals in the kingdom. However, some insurers stipulate which facilities can be used. Similarly, hospitals will state which insurance policies they accept. For example, the oldest hospital still treating patients today, the American Mission Hospital – which opened in 1902 – takes payment from 15 approved insurance companies. Other respected private hospitals include the Royal Bahrain Hospital, Bahrain Specialist Hospital and the Awali Hospital, owned by Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco).

In the public sector, the largest hospital is the 1,200-bed Salmaniya Medical Complex, which opened in 1978 and is the kingdom’s only public sector secondary and tertiary facility. Other major public hospitals include the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital and the new King Hamad University Hospital.

Bahrain also has a network of 22 primary healthcare facilities that expatriates can attend for just BD3 ($8) a visit. However, these tend to be overcrowded.

Looking to the future, Bahrain has ambitions of becoming a health tourism destination at the same time as improving primary healthcare facilities. A new medical city attached to the Arabian Gulf University is under way thanks to a SR1bn ($267m) grant from Saudi Arabia, and plans for a health island resort moved forward in March 2013 with a construction contract awarded to the local Cebarco.

Key contact

Ministry of Health

Tel: (+973) 1 728 8888

Web: www.moh.gov.bh

Selected medical facilities

Public hospitals

Salmaniya Medical Complex (Accident and Emergency)

Tel: (+973) 1 728 4080

King Hamad University Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 744 4444

Web: www.khuh.org.bh

Bahrain Defence Force Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 776 6798

Web: www.bdfmedical.org

Psychiatric Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 727 9311

Jidhafs Maternity Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 755 0022

Muharraq Maternity Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 732 2911

East Riffa Maternity Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 777 1258

Sitra Maternity Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 773 0758

Western Region Maternity Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 763 1627

Private Hospitals

Awali Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 775 3333

Web: www.bapco.net

Royal Bahrain Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 724 6800

Web: www.royalbahrainhospital.com

Bahrain Specialist Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 781 2000

Web: www.bsh.com.bh

International Hospital of Bahrain

Tel: (+973) 1 759 1666

Web: www.ihb.net

Ibn al-Nafees Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 782 8282

Web: www.ibnalnafees.com

Gulf Dental Speciality Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 774 1444

Web: www.gulfdental.net

Al-Baraka Fertility Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 781 1741

Urology Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 782 2300

Dr Tariq Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 782 2822

Web: www.dermaplast.com.bh

Noor Specialist Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 726 0026

Web: www.alnoorhospital.com

American Mission Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 725 3447

Web: www.amh.org.bh

Al-Hilal Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 734 4199

Web: www.alhilalhospital.com

International Medical City Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 749 0006

Web: www.ihb.net

Al-Kindi Specialised Hospital

Tel: (+973) 1 724 0444

Web: www.alkindihospital.com