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Iceland – Health Service

Iceland is a country located in the North Atlantic, with a population of around 368,000 people. The Icelandic healthcare system is known for its quality, accessibility, and modernity. This article will explore the standard of healthcare in Iceland, how it is paid for, the services provided by hospitals, follow-up care, and medical treatment for foreign visitors.

Standard of Healthcare

The standard of healthcare in Iceland is generally considered to be high. Iceland has a universal healthcare system, which means that all residents have access to healthcare services, regardless of their income or social status. Healthcare services in Iceland are provided by the public sector, with private hospitals and clinics playing a smaller role.

The Icelandic healthcare system is based on preventive care, and the government places a strong emphasis on promoting healthy lifestyles and disease prevention. This is reflected in the fact that Iceland has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, with an average life expectancy of around 83 years.

Healthcare Payment and Insurance

Healthcare in Iceland is funded by the government, with the majority of the funding coming from general taxes. Patients are required to pay a small fee for some healthcare services, such as specialist consultations and hospital stays. However, this fee is generally quite low, and most Icelanders do not purchase private health insurance.

Private health insurance is available in Iceland, but it is not considered necessary or recommended for most people. Private insurance is primarily used for elective procedures, such as cosmetic surgery or fertility treatments, which are not covered by the public healthcare system.

Hospital Services

Hospitals in Iceland provide a wide range of services, including emergency care, surgery, and specialized treatments. There are three main hospitals in Iceland, located in Reykjavik, Akureyri, and Egilsstadir. These hospitals provide a high standard of care, with modern facilities and highly trained staff.


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Patients in Iceland are not generally expected to have family members provide care for them while in the hospital. Hospital staff are responsible for providing all necessary care, including basic needs such as feeding and bathing.

Follow-Up Care

Follow-up care after hospital treatment is provided by the patient’s general practitioner (GP). In Iceland, every resident is assigned a GP, who is responsible for their primary care needs. After a patient is discharged from the hospital, their GP will provide any necessary follow-up care, including medication management and monitoring of any ongoing health issues.

Patients who require specialized follow-up care may be referred to a specialist clinic or hospital. In these cases, the GP will coordinate the patient’s care with the specialist.

Medical Treatment for Foreign Visitors

Foreign visitors to Iceland are not entitled to free healthcare services in the same way that residents are. However, emergency medical treatment is provided to all visitors, regardless of their ability to pay. Visitors who require non-emergency medical treatment may need to pay for these services out of pocket or through travel insurance.

Foreign visitors to Iceland are advised to purchase travel insurance that includes coverage for medical expenses. This will ensure that they are covered in case of an unexpected illness or injury while in Iceland.

The standard of healthcare in Iceland is considered to be high, with a universal healthcare system that provides access to all residents. Private health insurance is not considered necessary for most people, and hospital services are provided by the public sector. Follow-up care after hospital treatment is provided by the patient’s GP, and foreign visitors are advised to purchase travel insurance that includes coverage for medical expenses.


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