Getting Urgent Medical Care in Germany

It is almost inevitable that at some point in life, everyone needs medical care urgently in those situations of emergency acting at the right time in the right way is critical for one’s life. It is therefore very important for everyone in Germany to learn where and how to get urgent medical care.

Fortunately, with proper information on hand, this should not be any problem at all. The German health care system is perfectly organized making it easier for random people and medical personnel handle almost every emergent situations. Surely, everyone must do its part of the job to manage through

Here is everything one must know on where and how to get urgent medical care in Germany

Emergency calls in Germany

The two most important emergency call numbers one must always remember in Germany are 110 and 112. The former is the police number while the other, in contrast to most countries, is the same for Fire Brigade and Ambulatory Service. In situations of emergency, people are advised to dial any of these numbers as soon as they can. It takes on average 9 seconds to answer a 112 call in Germany according to EU estimation.

Calling 110 and 112 is free of charge. Both numbers are available at any time and from any location in Germany. Once dialing it will automatically connect to the nearest emergency service provider.

 The agent responding the call will try to reveal at least the following situation

  • What’s wrong?
  • The location where the person who is calling is at that moment?
  • What is his/her name?

110 and 112 are accessible from any type of SIM card and any type of phone. Plus, one call the pan-European emergency number 112 even if there’s no SIM card inserted.

If a person is involved in a car accident on a highway (Autobahn) and it doesn’t have a phone at that moment there are emergency phones located sidelines designed to contact emergency service authorities. If there isn’t one at sight there are roadside signs with black arrows indicating the direction to the nearest emergency phone.

In Germany, it is illegal to stop on highways unless there is a strong reason to do so. If a driver has mechanical breakdown issues with his/her vehicle they’re recommended to park aside, turn on the emergency lights and put the triangle sign on the road until proper has come.

When found in similar situations, drivers in Germany can either signal other drivers to stop by or seek help in other ways. Fortunately, there are many automobile clubs in Germany which provide a wide range of road assistance. Plus they have a wide stretch network of local services and can get to the place where they are needed.  

Given below, are the contact numbers for three major automobile clubs in Germany

  • Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V. ADAC – (01802) 22 22 22
  • Auto Club Europa ACE – (01802) 34 35 36
  • Automobilclub von Deutschland AvD – (0691) 66060

When do you call 116 117?

Whenever someone is facing a life-threatening situation in Germany, they must immediately reach 112 or 110 through the phone.

Many young expats seem a bit confusing at first. If 112 and 110 are the main emergency number then when does the nation-wide 116 117 come into play?

Most countries have a single emergency phone line and that’s all. German health care system is highly developed in that allows people to request medical assistance if their circumstances don’t require emergent intervention but at the same time cannot wait for days.

Once an on-call service employee at a regional center picks up the phone they will try to comprehend the situation on hand and will report to a doctor. Within a moment the patient will be guided to the nearest medical facility. If due to personal medical circumstances the patient cannot get to the hospital, 116 117 will send the doctor at his/her home.

Since it is very hard to remember all these numbers it is always recommended to keep a small notebook of all emergency numbers in Germany.

How to Find a Nearby Hospital?

Sometimes one can decide to drive to the hospital on their own instead of waiting for ambulatory service to come through. Germany boasts a large number of hospital and chances are high people can find a nearby hospital no matter where they are at the time medical assistance is needed.

To find the exact location of a nearby hospital one has to check the Deutsches Krankenhausverzeichnis (DKV) or German Hospital Directory. On their website, there is a section where people can enter their location and the platform generates a list of nearby hospitals in a certain perimeter.

When a person arrives at a hospital in Germany on an emergency, he/she must get to the emergency department (Notaufnahme).

How to find a Doctor in Germany?

To find an emergency doctor one has to call 19 242. If a person can get to the hospital instead of waiting for an ambulance, he/she must remember to get to the emergency department (Notaufnahme) If there’s no need for emergent care the patient can look for a General Practitioner (Hausarzt) in a local hospital.

Opening hours change from doctors. For specific treatment, it is important for people to remember to make an appointment on time. In case the patient needs urgent medical care he/she can get to the doctor’s office without making an appointment. Still one might have to wait a little bit.

Pharmacies (Apotheken) in Germany

At the hospital, people are often prescribed medicines. For every drug prescription at German hospitals, patients will be charged with a fee of around 10 to 15 euros. If the patient is insured under German public health insurance he/she will have to pay it by himself/herself. On the contrary, privately insured patients will have to pay upfront and claim reimbursement afterward.

Usually, in Germany Pharmacies work five days a week from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. A few of them are also opened during Saturday mornings until mid-day. Moreover, in each area in Germany, there is a certain number of Pharmacies (Apotheken) which are available at any time in case of emergencies.

Location and other contact details of these specific Pharmacies can be found at local newspapers in the “Apotheken-Notdienst” section and at every pharmacy in Germany as well.

Likewise one can use online resources to track their location and other relevant information. Aponet.de is the official common online information portal where everyone can find the necessary information about all Pharmacies in Germany.

Dental Emergency Service

When needed a person in Germany can get urgent dental care. Proper dental emergency service will be offered any of the following situations:

  • The person has experienced an accidental injury of teeth, mouth, tongue, lips or jaw.
  • Bleeding after dental surgery.
  • Febrile infections.

To find an available dentist for taking care of dental emergencies, one is recommended to check online resources. Dentists who work outside office hours are and their contact details are listed in the online website of Dental Emergency Service in Germany (Zahnärztlicher Notdienst). One has to simply enter the area code where he/she is located and the platform will generate a list of all available dentists in that zone.

The person who is insured under the statutory health insurance won’t have to pay for his/her urgent dental care. The patient must only show his/her membership card to a health insurance provider and the doctor will send them the bill.

Emergency Numbers in Germany

Listed below are some of the emergency numbers in Germany

  • Ambulance and Fire Service – 112
  • Police – 110
  • Non-Emergency Service – 116 117
  • Pharmacy Emergency Service – 22 8 33
  • Air rescue – (0711) 70 10 70

Important note: Current laws in Germany foresee that everyone who intentionally interrupts emergent medical care services by faking an emergency will be detained at a police station. At the moment phone connection is established authorities collect information without the consent of the caller for internal purposes. Thus they’re able to find anyone and anywhere.

Useful Phrases

Expats who are not proficient in the German language can still ask for help to emergency service providers. There are many official working in these authorities who do speak English. It is however less likely in remote areas that there is any local official who’s going to do so.

That said, one must always keep note of some useful emergency phrases in the German language:

  • Hilfe – Help!
  • Krankenwagen – Ambulance.
  • Ich brauche einen Krankenwagen – I need an ambulance.
  • Rufen sie einen Krankenwagen – Call an ambulance.
  • Ich bin … – I’m at…
  • Es ist ein Notfall – This is an emergency.
  • Herzinfarkt – Heart attack.
  • Autounfall – Car accident.
  • Verletzte Menschen – Injured people.
  • Ich brauche einen Arzt – I need a doctor.
  • Krankenhaus – Hospital.
  • Arzt – Doctor.
  • Apotheke – Pharmacy.
  • Polizei – Police.
  • Feuerwehr – Fire service.