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Health ServiceBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Czech Republic - Health Service
Whilst 112 is the easiest option, especially for English speakers, other telephone numbers are also available for specific emergency services in the Czech Republic, as follows:
• 150 – fire brigade
• 155 – rescue/ambulance
• 156 – metropolitan police
• 158 – police
Visitors to the Czech Republic are required to carry a passport with them at all times. If the police ask for identification and you do not have it, you may be fined or arrested.
European Union citizens who visit the Czech Republic should bring a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with them. In the event of an accident or medical emergency, this will cover the basic costs of emergency care. The only fee you will have to pay is the standard 30CZ that all local patients pay per consultation during office hours. If you receive the emergency treatment during holidays, weekends or after 5pm each night, the standard fee of 90CZK will be charged.
This protection applies even if the emergency is related to a pre-existing medical condition, or if you are pregnant, as long as you have not arrived in the country to give birth.
You cannot order an EHIC retrospectively, and whilst a provisional replacement certificate is available, this involves a stringent bureaucratic process which will be stressful if you are trying to obtain it in the midst of a medical emergency. The best way to avoid stress is to order your EHIC well in advance of your trip and bring it with you.
The service delivering your emergency care must have a contract with one of the Czech public healthcare insurance funds. If a doctor or medical centre is run privately, the EHIC will not cover the cost of any of the treatment. This is because the EHIC will only give emergency access at the same level to which the local citizens are entitled. If you take a hotel’s recommendation for an emergency doctor, for example, and later find out you were treated privately, there are no conditions under which you will be reimbursed under the EHIC programme.
A multi-language free phone app explaining the EHIC terms and conditions in user friendly language has been developed by the European Commission. It explains more about the treatments, costs and procedures for reimbursement, so is worth looking up on your smart phone.
Every visitor to the Czech Republic should obtain private medical insurance and have the documents to hand. The EHIC insurance is only available to citizens of the EU, and is strictly limited to emergency medical treatment. All other costs must be paid for by the patient, including medical repatriation and ongoing medical treatment following the emergency. Citizens from outside the EU do not have EGIC coverage, and so must pay all medical bills, emergency and otherwise, from their own pocket. Whilst the medical care in the Czech Republic is significantly cheaper than many other European countries, costs will soon mount up. Insurance is an affordable way to avoid huge medical bills.
If you have to attend a medical centre, either as an impatient or as a hospital patient, contact your medical insurance company as soon as you can. They will give you advice about what they will cover and from whom.
Since the cost of medical treatment in the Czech Republic is cheaper than many other areas of Europe, it has become a popular destination for overseas medical “tourists”. However, you cannot just turn up for treatment, especially if you want your home country’s health service to pay for it.
Anyone leaving the UK to live in the Czech Republic should apply for form S1. This will show your record of national insurance contributions, which can be used to calculate your entitlement to state medical care in your new home. You should be able to understand your entitlement to exportable benefits once this process is completed. If you need help and information about this, contact the Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle), Durham House, Washington, Tyne & Wear NE38 7SF, United Kingdom. Their phone number is +44 191 218 1999, or you can email them at Overseas.Healthcare@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
Everyone who arrives in the Czech Republic for work will have to register with one of the public health insurance funds. There are seven to choose from:
Vseobecna zdravotni pojistovna
Vojenska zdravotni pojistovna
Ceska prumyslova zdravotni pojistovna
Oborova zdravotni pojistovna
Zamestnanecka pojistovna Skoda
Zdravotni pojistovna ministerstva vnitra CR
Revirni bratrska pokladna, zdravotni pojistovna
Your chosen insurance company will send you a registration card to show you are a member of their fund. You will pay them a percentage of all your earnings, and your employer will also make a contribution. There are some groups who are exempt from making payments. These include dependent children, students under the age of 26 and pensioners. Some vulnerable adults will also receive an exemption.
Whenever you attend an appointment at any medical centre in the Czech Republic, including with a GP or dentist, you will need to show your public health insurance registration card. You will then be charged a standard 30CZ patient fee, and the rest of the costs will be covered by your insurance. This charge is also applied to prescriptions, lab tests and other medical services. The standard fee for out of hours services is 90CZ, but these services can be hard to find. Some dentistry work requires a fee of 90CZK, plus additional charges where set out by the insurance scheme rules.
Whilst the standards of medical care and dentistry in the Czech Republic are as good as those found in many other European countries, mental health care here does not have the financial or staff resources to meet the ever growing needs of a modern country. The Psychiatric Care Reform Strategy is being implemented in an effort to transform a service which currently targets high volume numbers of patients for short bursts of care into one which gives greater emphasis on the needs of the individual. Reducing the treatment of mental health patients by drugs is one of the aims of the strategy, with recognition that many patients need to have more face to face therapy from a qualified professional to address their needs.
For those who cannot or who do not wish to receive state supported health services, another option is to totally depend on private sector medical care. The medical facilities and services available in this sector have undergone a dramatic transformation since the Czech Republic became a member of the EU in 2004. The country has become a popular destination for patients wanting to receive cost effective private treatment, which has in turn driven investment into the sector.
The best way to cover the significant costs that even a relatively simple operation or prolonged illness can incur is by taking out comprehensive medical insurance. Accidents and poor health usually strike unexpectedly and can dramatically affect your finances in a very short space of time. Insurance prevents medical bills being an added burden during a time of need.
When you are given a prescription note for medication, you must present it to the lekarny or pharmacist, within strict deadlines. These are:
• One day for prescriptions issued by the emergency services
• Three days for prescriptions issued for antibiotics
• One week for all other medicines
If you fail to meet these deadlines, you must ask your GP for a new prescription. You will incur another standard patient fee for doing so.
Whilst alcohol forms a normal part of socializing in the Czech Republic, drunken and offensive behaviour is not tolerated. Some bars and restaurants will prevent large groups such as stag parties from entering their premises. The police will detain and fine people whose drunken behaviour causes problems for others.
It is possible to obtain homemade liquor at very cheap prices in the Czech republic. As you probably know, there are very real medical risks associated with these products. Of even greater concern, in 2012 a number of deaths from methanol poisoning occurred after people bought what they thought were legitimate products from their local shops. At the time, there were suggestions that significant quantities of illegal liquor were being sold in shops, bars and restaurants. To keep yourself safe from harm, only purchase alcohol from legitimate sources. Supermarkets and off licenses sell alcohol in just about every neighbourhood in the Czech Republic. Check that the bottle is correctly sealed and shows no signs of tampering. If you are in any doubt about a bottle’s origin or are concerned by any indication it may have been tampered with, do not drink it as it really could kill you.
The Czech Republic has high levels of underage drinking; reportedly the highest in Europe. Many shop workers do not ask for age identification when selling alcohol to minors. Hospital admissions and alcohol related deaths amongst teenagers are a source of concern. Parents should be aware of this and monitor their children’s social activity.
Take care when crossing roads and tram tracks. In addition to the normal risks of being hit by a moving vehicle, fines are imposed if you are caught crossing within 50-meters of a designated crossing point. These will usually be marked crossings on the road or a set of traffic lights. If you cross when the green crossing light is not showing, you may again be liable to receiving a fine.
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