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Turkish Hospitals

Ken Grubb

A patient room and bed in a Turkish hospital.If you've never been treated in a Turkish hospital before, it can be kind of scary since you don't know what to expect. But once you go for the first time, you'll probably be surprised at the level of professionalism and quality you find, not to mention the low price--especially at the state hospitals.

One of the main differences with Turkish hospitals and clinics is that you run your own paperwork and samples around. After seeing your doctor in his her office, he or she may tell you to go have blood drawn at another office, then take the blood to the laboratory and bring the paperwork back. So lines tend to form in the hallways in front of various offices. Really all you have to do is let them know you're there by name and have a seat in the hallway. There usually isn't a number system.

State Hospitals (Devlet Hastanesi)

State hospitals in Turkey offer low-cost care which is available to everyone who is enrolled in the Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, also known as the SGK, which is Turkey's national health insurance plan. While most foreigners who have used state hospitals give good reports about the care they receive, some have had negative experiences. State hospitals suffer from a lack of funding, shortage of personnel, and too many patients. It may also be difficult to find a doctor or staff member who speaks English. The number one reason to use a state hospital is the low cost of treatment.

Private Hospitals (Özel Hastanesi)

Private hospitals can be found mostly in the larger cities and resort towns of Turkey, where income levels are higher and the locals are willing to pay more for a higher standard of care. Not all private hospitals accept the national SGK insurance, and those that do typically apply what SGK will pay to the bill, and charge the rest to you.

You're far more likely to have a good experience in a private hospital than a state one. They are often staffed with doctors who finished their medical training in the United States or a European country, and who hold US or European certifications in their specialties. They usually speak English, as do some on the hospital staff. Private hospitals cost more than state hospitals, but you can be assured shorter waiting times, a higher level of training, more modern facilities, and personalized service.

Hospital Appointments

Typically you can just show up at the hospital and be seen on the same day. The usual wait is around 45 minutes. If your local hospital has on-line appointments, you can book one with a general practitioner or specialist. Just show up around 15 minutes prior for the paperwork, and you'll be seen immediately.

Medical Clinics

In many tourist towns which aren't big enough for a hospital, you'll find medical clinics called sağlık oçağı. These are often run by independent doctors and specialists. The care you'll receive is equivalent to that of a private hospital, but since their services are limited you may have to go elsewhere to see a specialist or get laboratory tests done.

See Also

Turkish for Emergencies: Turkish terms which may help you in case of emergency.
Health, Healthcare, and Health Insurance Forum: If you have questions about hospitals in Turkey, please post them in this forum.

Ken Grubb, author.

As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He now lives in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.


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