In an emergency, you will find in Germany a dense network of local doctors with various specialisms, hospitals and drop-in centres. As a rule, you can choose any doctor you prefer.
- When people experience a health problem, most go first to their family doctor (a doctor in general practice - or for children, a paediatrician). They will either coordinate the treatment themselves or refer you to a specialist doctor, possibly at a hospital.
- Specialist doctors such as gynaecologists or ear, nose and throat doctors specialise in a particular field. If necessary, your family doctor will refer you to a specialist doctor. However, you can also go to a specialist doctor directly.
- Doctors usually offer appointments for treatment. If you are not registered, you will often have to wait. Whenever possible you should call in advance and make an appointment. Keep in mind that the next possible appointment in a specialist practice might be in a few weeks or even months.
- If you need medical help at night, at the weekend or on a public holiday you can call the on-call medical service on the telephone number 116 117. (Note: this number is the same nationwide)
- If you suffer from acute illness or injury but you can still walk, go to the emergency centre (Rettungsstelle) of the nearest hospital. You may have to wait some time there.
- In the event of an emergency (acute, life-threatening condition) call the emergency number 112. An ambulance will then take you to a hospital.
- You find pharmacies everywhere in your town. At night and at the weekend, you find the addresses of nearby "emergency pharmacies" at every pharmacy.