The healthcare system in Slovakia falls under the competence of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic. In Slovakia there are state and private health care providers. An initial medical examination in case of an illness is provided by state or private general practitioners ("všeobecný lekár"). Everybody can choose a general practitioner who usually provides basic health care and can refer a patient to an appropriate specialist for further medical examination or treatment.
In general, you don't need an appointment to see a general practitioner. It is advisable to arrive early in the morning/beginning of the doctor's office hours in order to join a waiting list for the particular day (sometimes there are numbered cards available in the waiting room and their number per day is limited). If you need to see a specialist, you have to ask your general practitioner for a referral card first, unless the specialist is a dentist, a gynaecologist, a psychiatrist, a dermatologist or an ophtalmologist (only in case of glasses prescription), otherwise the specialist will not admit you. The referral card is only necessary for the first consultation of the specialist. Usually it is possible to make an appointment for a specific time (for a fee) or get a preferential entry (for a higher fee). This means you do not have to wait but you may have your medical examination immediately or within a very short time, ahead of other patients waiting.
If a foreign national wants to use the services of Slovak healthcare system, these may be covered either by direct payment (usually cash, or using a card, if available) or by health insurance. There may be various types of health insurance – public or commercial, Slovak or foreign. If a foreign national has health insurance (which has to be demonstrated by showing a health insurance company ID card or other relevant document to a nurse/doctor), the health care provided is paid for by the insurance company. Depending on the type of service provided, the health insurance company will pay for this service either in full or partially. If the health insurance company pays for the service only partially, the rest is paid by the foreigner directly to the health care provider. If a foreign national does not have health insurance, he/she must pay the full amount for healthcare provided.
General practitioners and specialists have their consulting rooms in hospitals ("nemocnica") or in health centres ("poliklinika"). You do not necessarily have to register with a local doctor when you first arrive but it may be useful to get information and contacts before you need one.
HERE >> you can find a list of general practicioners in Slovakia (in Slovak only, but the contact details are comprehensible).
HERE >> you can find the list of other ambulances according to the specialization
The list of health care providers according to the specialization may be found also in the AZET web catalogue Health Care Providers (in Slovak only).
In every town there is either a private or state dental practice ("zubár", "stomatológ"). Upon arrival you should ask for details of the chosen dentist. However, even if you have an insurance, part of the treatment is normally not covered and it is charged directly to the patient after the care has been provided.
Notice: It is usually essential to book an appointment with a dentist in advance.
In every university town there is a hospital ("nemocnica"). Normally you are referred there by your general practitioner, specialist, or an emergency service, who will explain what you need to do and where to go.
Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic: www.health.gov.sk
List of hospitals (in Slovak only)
If you need emergency services ("záchranná služba"), dial telephone number "112" which is an integrated number for all services. The dispatchers should be able to speak English. You may also call telephone number 155 which is used exclusively for medical emergencies, or local emergency ambulance services that you can see below. Ambulances are well staffed and equipped with life‑sustaining apparatus needed to safely transport patients to hospital. Hospitals provide 24‑hour emergency services. If your condition is not apparently life-threatening but you still need medical services after working hours of your physician, you can go to "pohotovosť", an Accident and Emergency department which can be found in a local hospital or a specialised clinic. It usually opens in the afternoon hours and closes in the evening or remains open overnight (depending on the particular city or hospital). You will be charged a small fee to use this service.
Important telephone numbers:
Emergency ambulance telephone numbers:
You can buy medicine only in pharmacies ("lekáreň"), located in every town and in some villages (they are marked with a green cross). Every town has to have at least one emergency pharmacy ("pohotovostná lekáreň") open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – for further details consult the information posted on the door of every pharmacy. If you require treatment at night, look for the sign "nočná služba". Pharmacies sell domestic and foreign medical products. Certain medicine can be obtained only with a prescription from a physician. For a list of pharmacies, please, visit this page >> (in Slovak only).
Last modified: 2015-10-27