Healthcare in Turkey

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The quality of healthcare in Turkey varies from region to region. Expats moving to Turkey will be happy to know that healthcare in the country is generally cheaper than elsewhere in Europe, and there are many private and public hospitals across the country. 

Expats moving to one of the major urban centres in Turkey, such as Istanbul or Ankara, as well as a few others, will have access to good quality private hospitals with experienced doctors and medical staff, most of whom can speak English. However, those living in more rural areas will find access to healthcare still quite limited.

Public healthcare in Turkey

Public healthcare in Turkey is not up to the standards that expats from Europe and North America are familiar with. Nevertheless, with rising competition from private hospitals, there has been an increase in the quality of public institutions in recent years. However, most expats still choose to go to a private medical facility.

Private healthcare in Turkey

Private hospitals in Turkey are relatively cheap and offer good quality care. In fact, Turkey is beginning to make a name for itself as a medical tourism destination, particularly in the areas of cosmetic surgery, dentistry and fertility treatment. It’s normally easy to make an appointment at a private hospital as many of them have English speaking call centres.

Medicines and pharmacies in Turkey

Pharmacies (eczane) are plentiful in the main towns and cities. Expats living in Turkey will find that accessing medicines at pharmacies is relatively easy as many prescription medications are available cheaply and over the counter. Most neighbourhoods in major cities have a duty pharmacy that is generally open 24 hours a day.

Health insurance in Turkey

Expats who have been a resident in Turkey for more than a year (with a valid residence permit) and who contribute to the state social security scheme have access to public medical care in Turkey. Many employers contribute to the social security scheme on their employee’s behalf. 
However, many expats opt for additional private medical insurance to supplement this, and to cover medical care at private institutions. It’s worth noting that the European Health Insurance Card, relating to free medical treatment in EU countries, is not valid in Turkey. 
There are a number of international companies offering expat health insurance; however, local Turkish companies also offer competitive rates and services. International expat health insurance can cost thousands of US dollars per year, depending on one’s policy and benefits, but local Turkish health insurance is equally effective and far cheaper. 

Health hazards in Turkey

Malaria is present in the south eastern regions of Turkey, and prophylaxis is necessary if travelling to the affected areas. May to October is the highest risk period.

Pre-travel restrictions and vaccinations for Turkey

There are no specific vaccinations required for entry into Turkey, although those coming from a yellow fever infected area should have a yellow fever certificate.
It’s also recommended to have a rabies injection, especially if travelling outside of the main urban areas, as Turkey has one of the highest incidents of rabies in Europe.

Emergency services in Turkey

Turkey has a public ambulance service, which can be contacted by dialling 112. Some hospitals in the major cities offer private ambulance services which can be accessed directly.

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