What you need to do if you get ill or injured

In Germany, you should only go to a hospital’s emergency department if you need urgent medical care in an emergency. If you have an illness or injury that is not classed as an emergency, the normal course of action is to go to see a doctor in a doctor’s surgery. You are free to choose which doctors and hospitals you go to. This also includes specialists such as dentists, gynaecologists or dermatologists.

Before visiting a doctor, you should arrange an appointment. We recommend that you call your doctor’s surgery and explain your symptoms. The surgery will then arrange an appointment to examine you further and you can avoid a long wait. Many doctor’s surgeries also allow patients to book appointments online. If necessary, check whether the doctors at the surgery can provide advice in English as well as German.

Your doctor will give you a prescription for medicines. You hand this in at a pharmacy of your choice in order to receive the corresponding medication. Sometimes there is an additional fee for the medication. People with private insurance pay for the medication themselves first and then submit the bill to the insurer for reimbursement.

If you need urgent medical advice, you can contact the out-of-hours service by dialling 116 117. 

If you are involved in a serious accident (e.g. a car/bicycle collision), call the emergency services by dialling 112. If you have any further questions on treatments etc., you can contact your health insurance provider.

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