Frequently-asked questions – Health

Where can I find a GP near to where I live?

Go to the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung website (Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians).
This site provides links to the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung in all federal states of Germany. Click on your state and you will be taken to a website with telephone numbers. You can ring up and ask where to find a GP near you. But you can also click directly on the link to a search engine for doctors near you.

Can I go straight to a specialist?

Normally you go to the GP first. He will refer you to a specialist. He knows which specialist you need. But you can also go straight to a specialist without a referral.

How do I find an emergency doctor in my area?

In emergencies, for instance in the event of a serious accident, call the emergency services directly using the number 112. For all other emergencies you can use the Ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst (out-of-hours doctor service). Find out more by calling 116117.

You can find an overview of all out-of-hours and emergency services provided by pharmacies in Germany at Every pharmacy also has a notice listing all the pharmacies that offer an out-of-hours and emergency service.

How do I get a health card?

Your health insurance company will tell you that.

What do I have to do if I am sick and cannot go to work?

Inform your employer and go to the doctor. After that, let your employer know how long your illness is likely to last. Send him the doctor’s note if the doctor has signed you off sick. Some employers want the sick note on the 1st day of absence, others not until the 2nd or 3rd day. Ask your employer from what point you are required to produce a sick note.

How do I find a doctor who speaks my native language?

Go to the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung website (Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians).
Click on your state. Then you can find a doctor who speaks your native language.

Additional information for asylum seekers

Can’t find a suitable doctor in your area who speaks your mother language? Then you can search for an interpreter. For example, you can find an interpreter here:

Are you looking for someone to accompany you to a doctor’s visit or for the duration of a hospital stay? Then please refer to support networks and initiatives in your area. You can find them in the “Help” section under “Addresses for refugees: support networks and initiatives”.

What is the difference between a medical practice and a hospital?

In Germany there are different medical practices. For every medical field, there is a so-called specialist physician. In case of a toothache, for example, you should search for a dentist. For all other health problems, you should visit a general practitioner first. Most patients have their own specific general practitioner. For example, you should go to your general practitioner when you need a prescription for medication.

In the case of certain illnesses, the physician will refer the patient to a specialist physician or directly to the hospital.
During the week, the general practitioner is usually only reachable during specific opening hours. However, in case of an emergency you can go to the hospital emergency room at any time. There you will also receive assistance, even on weekends and public holidays.
In the case of an accident or sudden serious illness, you should immediately call an ambulance by dialling 112.
You can search online for doctors in your area.

Additional information for asylum seekers

Refugees who are waiting for asylum procedure results may visit a doctor in an emergency. However, before you go to the doctor in some Federal states, you must apply for a special health insurance certificate at theSocial Welfare Office. You must take this certificate with you to your doctor’s visit so that the Social Welfare Office will cover your medical bill.

If you are experiencing mental health issues, you can contact information centres. You will find assistance there. You can find more information here:

BAFF, Bundesweite Arbeitsgemeinschaft der psychosozialen Zentren für Flüchtlinge und Folteropfer (National council for psychosocial centres for refugees and victims of torture): Traumatised refugees

Centre for Refugee Aid and Migration Services: Psychotherapy

Information network for Asylum and Migration: Psychosocial Centres

More questions? Contact the advisors at the Youth Migration Services.