The information in this article has been provided by Hamburg Welcome Portal.
In Germany, there is a free choice of doctors. When you are ill, you can decide which medical practice you’d like to visit first. Important: Please don’t forget to bring your health insurance card with you every time you want to see a doctor.
In case of illness, normally a general practitioner or a specialist for internal medicine will be your first point of contact. Children should be taken to a paediatrician. In order to establish a relationship of trust with the medical staff, always consulting the same medical practice (family practice) is recommended.
Your family doctor makes an initial diagnosis, prescribes appropriate medication and – should the necessity arise – refers you to a specialist or a hospital. If you have a job and you are temporarily unable to work due to illness, you will also receive a written certificate of incapacity (“Arbeitsunfähigkeitsbescheinigung”) from the doctor. You should send this certificate to your employer immediately.
If you are a member of the statutory health insurance, your doctor will settle the costs directly with your relevant health insurance company. If you are insured by private health insurance, you will receive a bill for your medical treatment via post. Normally you first have to pay it yourself. Then you forward this bill to your private health insurance company in order to get the refund.
Searching for a doctor
To assist you in searching for general or special medical practices in Hamburg, there are some useful online search tools in German language, for example:
- Search engine of the Hamburg Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Hamburg): → Bürger → Arztsuche (includes the search criteria “foreign language”)
- Search engine of the Medical Association Hamburg (Ärztekammer Hamburg): → Patienten → Arztsuche
- Search engine f the Dentists Association Hamburg (Zahnärztekammer Hamburg): Type your street name or post code in the white field
Tip: The patients’ hotline +49 (0) 40 / 20 22 99 222 offers – free of charge – advice concerning medical questions and which doctor to choose.