Seoul (and Korea in general) provides some of the best health care in Asia. Doctors are very well trained, not only in Western medical practises but Oriental as well, giving their expertise a nice balance of old versus new. Don’t be alarmed by this – they won’t treat a heart attack with acupuncture. If a doctor thinks you would benefit from Oriental procedures, he or she will talk it over with you and then give you the contact information of an Oriental specialist doctor.More often than not, your doctor will prescribe medication, even if you’re just suffering from a common cold. Expats often joke about Korean doctors over-medicating their patients, but in nine out of ten cases, the pills they give you are enriched with vitamins and other homeopathic compounds to speed up your recovery.
Be sure to tell your doctor in advance if you have any medical allergies or underlying health problems.
Doctors can work in large hospitals or they can have their own private practises. While the quality of care in large hospitals in Seoul is at a high standard, many expats prefer visiting doctors in smaller clinics as they spend more time with you and aren’t so rushed. Many larger hospitals in Seoul can feel very impersonal and harried. The smaller practises have the same standard of health care and are less stressful. For serious injuries or symptoms, you should always go to the larger hospitals as they have any equipment you may need. The smaller clinics usually just have a doctor or treat only one type of illness.
Doctors in Seoul do not make house calls; if you urgently need medical care you should always call 119 on your telephone and the dispatch will send an ambulance.