Israeli doctors study for six years and do a year of residency. Many doctors choose to do fellowships abroad in addition to the required coursework. This results in many well-trained doctors, and includes general practitioners, specialists and surgeons.
Israel has doctors and services which provide care for every stage of life, including fertility treatment, therapies and rehabilitation, transplants, orthopaedic surgery and geriatrics.
Generally, international medical practitioners and associations regard Israeli healthcare as comparable to healthcare in Europe and North America. Doctors use up-to-date equipment and techniques, and they often make innovations to healthcare practices. As a foreign resident, you should not worry about the quality of healthcare available to you in Israel.
Finding a doctor
To see a doctor, you should first sign up for a health fund or purchase private insurance. Your doctor's visits are covered by your insurance policy, and your policy also determines which doctors you may see. Ask your fund or insurance provider for a list of approved doctors.
Your local clinic, hospital and medical centre have information about all of their doctors. Although healthcare in Israel is exceptional and doctors are well-trained, it does not hurt to be cautious. Health facilities generally list doctors' education, certification and specialities. Patients are allowed to ask if a doctor is a member of the Israel Medical Association or a specialised health association. These associations only accept qualified members, and they will revoke membership for malpractice. A list of specialised Israeli medical associations can be found on the Israel Science and Technology website.
If you need assistance finding a doctor, your health insurance provider's clinics will help you. Clinics refer services they do not offer, such as dentists or opticians. If you ask around enough, you are sure to find a quality doctor who will meet your healthcare needs.
Patients who do not speak Hebrew should seek an English-speaking doctor. Health funds and private insurers will be able to direct you to English-speaking doctors in your area.
If you do not have an insurance policy, British and American embassies will refer you to doctors in your area who speak English.
Seeing a doctor
Doctors see patients in clinics, hospitals, and medical centres. Doctors at clinics can treat most of your basic healthcare needs. They provide services like physical examinations, diagnostic tests and non-invasive surgery. Your general practitioner will refer you to specialised doctors (e.g. cardiologist, podiatrists) at a hospital if you need more extensive care.
Israeli clinics accept walk-ins, but there are often long lines. If you have an appointment at a clinic, the time you wait will be much shorter. In many cases, you will not get an appointment the same day. If you need medical service but do not need to go to the emergency room at a hospital, emergency medical clinics will see you.
Some hospitals are part of university medical schools. Doctors and surgeons who practice at these hospitals are often professors.
If you plan to consult a doctor who practices at a hospital, you should make an appointment a few weeks in advance.