In Germany, your first point of contact for any medical emergencies would be either your hausarzt or a general practitioner (GP). If a specialist needs to be consulted, your GP or hausarzt will refer you.
In Germany, the healthcare system is based on a system of primary care, which means that your first point of contact for any medical emergencies would be your hausarzt or a general practitioner (GP). A hausarzt is a GP who is responsible for coordinating your healthcare needs and managing your overall health.
If you experience a medical emergency or require specialist treatment, your GP or hausarzt will refer you to a specialist who is trained in treating your particular condition. This specialist may be located at a hospital or a specialized clinic, and your GP or hausarzt will work closely with them to ensure that you receive the appropriate care.
In general, the German healthcare system emphasizes preventative care, which means that your GP or hausarzt will encourage you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and schedule regular check-ups to detect and prevent any potential health problems before they become more serious. This approach can help to minimize the need for more specialized treatment and ensure that you receive the most effective and appropriate care for your individual needs.
How to find a personal doctor in Germany
Additionally, If you are covered by the Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (statutory health insurance), you can also use the doctor search in the KBV website. Select your state and the site will take you to the state specific page and there you can search with your zip code.
Before visiting the doctor, make sure that you clarify whether they accept your insurance as some doctors only accept private insurances while most of the doctors accept all kinds of insurances.
Read our article about different types of insurance in Germany.
Visiting the doctor in Germany
You can book an appointment simply by calling the doctor’s number or sometimes over their website. The listing directories like doctolib let you make an appointment through their website itself. You can even walk into a doctor’s clinic and get an appointment if it is an emergency. However, the waiting time might be longer than pre-booking an appointment.
A common fact is, neither the doctor nor the receptionist cannot always be expected to speak in English. However, most of the doctors speak or at least try to speak in English to help you.
If you have an emergency and are not getting a doctor’s appointment, don't hesitate to go to the emergency department in the nearest hospital.
Most of the practices are closed on weekends and on public holidays. Therefore, ask them about their working hours and vacation plans in advance. If you are not sure whether your doctor’s practice is closed when in an emergency, try calling their contact number and usually there will be a recorded voice instructing you what to do next if they are closed.
You always have to bring your insurance card with you during the visit. If you forgot your card, you might get a chance to pay and claim the money from your insurance provider at a later point of time.
Some tips to find a Hausarzt in Germany
Check your insurance: Make sure that your insurance policy covers visits to a Hausarzt, and find out which doctors are in your provider's network.
Ask for recommendations: Ask friends, family members, and coworkers for recommendations for a good Hausarzt in your area.
Use online directories: Search for Hausarzt directories online and look for doctors in your area.
Look for reviews: Check online reviews for any Hausarzt you're considering. Websites like Jameda.de or Google reviews can provide helpful insights.
Consider location and availability: Choose a Hausarzt who is conveniently located and has appointments available that fit your schedule.
Consider their specialties: Some Hausarzt practices specialize in specific areas of healthcare, so look for a doctor whose specialties align with your health needs.
Schedule a consultation: Once you've identified a few potential Hausarzts, schedule a consultation to meet the doctor in person, ask questions, and get a sense of their approach to healthcare.
Remember that it's important to find a Hausarzt who you feel comfortable with, who you trust to manage your healthcare, and who is able to meet your specific healthcare needs.