A lack of investment along with booming population growth in Kuwait has seen the number of hospital beds per 10,000 people fall to 19 in recent years. This compares to 30 beds per 10,000 people in the US and 82 in Germany.

The government wants to bring some 3,500 new beds online over the next few years, partly through the construction of eight hospitals by 2016. The state is also investing significantly in research and training facilities, and plans to increase capacity at nine existing hospitals. In total, Kuwait has $7.3bn of healthcare projects planned or under way.

In order to receive a residency permit in Kuwait, expatriates must have health insurance. This can be secured through a private insurer, or through a government-run scheme at a cost of about KD50 a year. Some companies may include medical coverage as part of the employment contract.

As part of Kuwait’s efforts to overhaul its healthcare industry, plans are under way to privatise this scheme through the creation of a public-private partnership. The planned Kuwait Health Assurance Company will offer medical coverage to foreign workers, along with operating several hospitals and clinics. The company is expected to be operational by 2015, and will be the sole provider of insurance to about 60 per cent of foreign workers. Healthcare is free to citizens.

Once insurance is obtained, it is advisable to double-check which hospitals are included in the coverage, as the cost of private appointments is high. The country also suffers from a shortage of trained specialists, although the government is working hard to remedy this. Those with chronic medical conditions, or who need complex treatment, will find it is worth researching treatment options.

There are several major hospitals dotted across the city and the wider country. Private hospitals tend to be responsive to drop-ins and have appointments available relatively quickly. Getting treated at state-run facilities can be a somewhat different experience, with long waiting times for those who arrive on-site and extended waiting lists for appointments.

Key contacts

Ministry of Health
Jamal Abdulnasser Street
Kuwait City
Website: www.moh.gov.kw (Arabic only)
Tel: (+965) 2 487 7422

Select major hospitals in Kuwait

Al-Salam International Hospital
Second ring road, Istiqlal Expressway/Gulf Street
Dasman
Website: www.sih-kw.com
Tel: (+965) 2 223 2000

Al-Seef Hospital
Belajat Street, Salmiya
Website: www.alseef-hospital.com
Tel: (+965) 188 1122

Ibn Sina Hospital
Shuwaikh
Website: www.ibnsina.freeservers.com
Tel: (+965) 2 484 0300

Al-Rashid Hospital
Amman Street, Salmiya
Website: www.alrashidhospital.org
Tel: (+965) 2 562 4000

Al-Omooma Hospital
Fourth Ring Road, Riggae
Website: www.alomoomahospital.com
Tel: (+965) 2 499 7000

Alia Medical Clinic Hospital
Falaheel Road, Mahboulah
Website: www.aliamedicalcenter.com
Tel: (+965) 2 373 1100

Al-Adan Hospital
Al-Ahmadi
Website: www.adansurgery.com
Tel: (+965) 2 394 0600

Amiri Hospital
Safat
Website: www.amirihospital.com
Tel: (+965) 2 246 9621

Farwaniya Hospital
Al-Farwaniya
Tel: (+965) 2 488 8000

International Clinic Salmiya
Al-Soor Street, Salmiya
Website: www.international-clinic.com
Tel: (+965) 2 291 6475

London Hospital
Fintas
Website: www.londonhospital.org
Tel: (+965) 188 3883

New Mowsat Hospital
Youssef Ben Hamoud Street
Salmiya
Website: www.newmowasat.com
Tel: (+965) 2 572 6666

Royale Hayat Hospital
Fourth Ring Road, Jabria
Website: www.royalehayat.com
Tel: (+965) 2 536 0000

Tabia Hospital
Sabah al-Salem, Block 3
Website: www.taibahospital.com
Tel: (+965) 180 8088