Hospital experience in Turkey

In the past few weeks I visited my brother in hospital in the UK, and, on Sunday I had the need to visit A and E here in Turkey. In the wee hours of Sunday my wife fainted in the bathroom and split her head on the tiles. I brought her round, cleaned and inspected the wound. The initial assessment was that it did not need stitches, but as she was too ill to move (the original reason for the visit to the bathroom) we decided to wait for the morning.
Next day, we turned up at A and E of the State hospital in an inland town of about 14000 people, in full realisation that it would be a skeleton staff on Sunday morning. She was seen within 30 seconds of arrival, they did not even push for ID or registration until she had been treated.
I was actually pleased when they questioned me in detail about how she had got the wound ( I am sure they have seen many victims of domestic abuse)

Looking around the corridors the hospital did not look as 'sophisticated; or as clean as a UK one, but the treatment that she was given was first class, without the 4 hour wait for admission that my brother had.
I was wondering what other members' experiences of Turkish hospitals has been like.
In 2007 I had a major heart attack while on holiday in Datca. The young female doctor in A and E at our tiny hospital resuscitated me, and then transferred me by ambulance to a private hospital, my husbands request, in Marmaris. The treatment was second to none, the equal if not better than the NHS. When I returned to the UK the cardiologist agreed with everything that I had been told in Turkey. I made a complete recovery thanks to the prompt action of that young doctor, and the care I received in Ahu Hetman hospital.

Since then I have had numerous visits to both the doctor in my local clinic, and A and E at our new hospital. Each time I've received treatment quickly and effectively, no waiting for blood tests etc as they're done immediately, with the results back later the same day. It helps that I speak some Turkish, but most of the doctors I've had contact with speak English.

I have SGK, which may be expensive but gives me peace of mind in the unhappy event of serious illness. I can't fault Turkish health care, and certainly in our area the Devlet (public) hospitals have improved immensely over the 10 years I've lived here full time.
Yes I agree with both of you. I went to the new Devlet in Alanya on Friday to have a Cataract removed in my left eye.
Previous week. I had gone to see the eye Doc. to get a prescription for new glasses, then he looks at my left eye through the eye machine and says "OHH, Cataract" This was on Thursday Mar 15th. He couldn't do an op. on Friday next day when he does them, booked up, but come next Fri. 23rd. he said.
So went back last Fri. had the op. right away, then after, on stretcher wheeled me into a large private room to rest for a couple of hours, where a young woman brought in a meal for me and my wife, very nice. Then discharged.
All this done on SGK, no charges whatsoever. As has been said, in the UK you would have to go see your Doc. then wait for letter from the Hosp. giving date to see the eye surgeon, then wait for another letter telling you when to go for the op. Probably 6months later.......provided you didn't get another letter a month before the op.saying it had been put back till 6months later again.
The new Devlet in Alanya which opened about 5months ago is huge! The main building is 8 floors high, with 3 floor high extensions sticking out all around it.
Last edited:
Hi Glenn, me and wife are both oap's me 80 my wife 84. If you live here as we do, then you have to have med. ins. To old for private ins. then you have to have SGK which is what we have.
Yes you have to pay for SGK even if you are an OAP and it is 487lira/month. We are both English so we have to pay it, but the single payment of 487tl covers both of us.
We have to pay 487 each - both in receipt of UK state pension.
That is the official position as far as the SGK is concerned Harem and always has been in the Mugla area...but as we know (and as But007's position illustrates) different offices interpret it is different ways.
We found out 4 years ago on a routine hospital visit that my wife had been removed from my SGK because she received a UK state pension. A visit to our local SGK office confirmed that on reaching State pension age a "dependent" spouse must buy their own SGK cover.
At that stage the SGK were going through their records and removing spouses from cover - but no notification was given and people only found out when they needed treatment.
Even more worrying in this region has been people being billed by the SGK for operations/treatment they had when on their spouse's policy when they were over state pension age and should have had their own cover.
Whilst people may say that the SGK should notify them of the requirements when they reach state pension age, the SGK argue that it is up to the individual to notify the SGK of their "change in circumstances" and pay their own cover.
As with everything, its a matter for individuals to decide how they wish to proceed....and be prepared to face the consequences if they fall foul of the system.


African refugee
I had a gall bladder op in Marmaris a few years ago – no problems at all.

I really don’t understand people when they say they are going back to the UK for health reasons :)


Senior Member
I really don’t understand people when they say they are going back to the UK for health reasons
I suspect it is more financial reasons, eg I currently cannot risk holidaying outside of the EU for the moment as I am uninsurable hopefully just for a limited period for 1 declared illness.


Senior Member
We also have been very impressed with the health service in Turkey. In the 10 years we have lived here we have experienced superb treatment at different times from 3 Marmaris hospitals and one in Mugla, for various ailments including cat bites, a pulmonary embolism, and, most recently, my wife’s fall down some stairs.
The pulmonary embolism was serious and life threatening, and without the prompt and expert diagnosis and treatment by the cardiologist at the Mugla Yugelen hospital, Jan would probably have died.
Our most recent experience was Jan’s fall down stairs, cutting her head, breaking an arm, and possibly injuring her back. The ambulance arrived just 12 minutes after my phone call – to Selimiye! The paramedics were superb, very skilful and sympathetic, meticulously checking for any evidence of spinal injury. On arrival at Marmaris Devlet hospital she was surrounded by a medical team, arm X-rayed, head and body cat scanned, blood tested, vision tested. The scan showed no damage to the spine – great relief! Her arm was plastered, scalp wound stitched, then pain killed and antibioticised. This was all done within about an hour of arriving at A & E. She was then asked to rest on a bed for about 2 hours to ensure she was stable and to give the head man a chance to check the scans and reports. I was given the scan reports when we left – 7 pages detailing vertebrae, cranium, neural canals, organs, etc.

Inevitably, we compare the health service here with that in the UK, and from our experience, we have far more confidence in the Turkish health service.

The main differences that we notice are:-
1) Minimal waiting time for consultations, tests or scans, with results usually within 2 hours.
2) Immediate willingness to utilise CAT scans, ultrasound, MRI scans, etc., to ensure correct and thorough diagnosis and treatment.
3) Consultants/doctors well qualified and competent – in the right age range, old enough to have experience, young enough to have all their faculties.
4) All the staff have a real interest in doing whatever is necessary in helping you to get well.

My husband had an heart attack few yrs back a bad one was in intensive care for a week in yugelen in mugla they saved his life fantastic hospital and aftercare