Medical care in Germany

Let us give you an overview of the different options for getting medical care in Germany.

Dr. Paras Mehta
Dr. Paras Mehta

In a previous post, we talked about health insurance in Germany. But as a foreigner in Germany you might be wondering - Where do I go if I need medical care?

General Practitioners and Specialists

In Germany we have a Hausarzt we go to. He or she is a general practitioner who has his or her own medical practice and who does most of the important examinations. He or she is the first person a German person usually goes to when he or she isn’t feeling well, needs medicine, needs a vaccination or a medical certificate.

Usually you always go to the same Hausarzt. He or she knows you and your medical history and feels responsible for you and your family.

Then there are specialists. So called Fachärzte. For example eye doctors, dentists, dermatologists, orthopedists and so on.

In Germany you have a free choice of doctors. This means you can go to a specialist whenever you feel you need to and you don’t need to be transferred by your Hausarzt.

There is only one exception. Some of the private health insurances have a special system, where you need to see your Hausarzt first and get a referral for a specialist.

To find out more about health insurance in Germany, please read our previous post (link below).

Health insurance in Germany
Let us explain how the German health insurance system works.

Are there English speaking doctors in Germany?

In most German cities you will find an English speaking doctor. Here is website to find someone close to you:

https://en.doctena.de

When can I go to the hospital?

In Germany there are mostly two reasons to go to the hospital:

  1. Emergency: You go to the hospital when you are feeling really sick, when you had an accident or you need medical support during the weekend.
  2. Planned visits: You get a transfer from another doctor to go see a specialist in a clinic, to get special examinations (such as an x-ray or an MRI), or to have a surgery that requires hospital stay.

Important: You are always allowed to go to the emergency room whenever you are in need of help. You don’t need anything special for it and the people there are committed to help you.

What can I do if I am in danger or if I need medical care immediately?

  1. Call 112 or 110 if you are in danger or in bad pain and you are not capable of helping yourself.
  2. Go to an emergency room if you have the possibility.
  3. Call the Notdienst. There is a list of doctors, who work during nights and weekends. Sometimes they even come to your place. Here you can find doctors: https://www.116117.de/
  4. Go to the pharmacy. You can also find pharmacy emergency service for weekends and nights online: https://www.apotheken-umschau.de/Apotheken-Notdienst

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Dr. Paras Mehta

Paras has spent 10 yrs in software, data science, research & entrepreneurship in Germany. PhD FU Berlin | MSc 1st position | Marie Curie, Erasmus Mundus fellow | BTech DTU | Visiting Scholar Cambridge


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