Medical care

 

The healthcare system in Slovakia falls under the competence of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic. You can find both public/state as well as private health care providers here. 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/at the beginning of the doctor's office hours in order to join a waiting list for the particular day (sometimes there are numbered tickets 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 ophthalmologist (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. It is usually 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.

The use of healthcare services may be covered either by a direct payment (usually cash, or using a card, if available) or by the health insurance. In case you are covered by the health insurance (you may be asked to demonstrate it by showing your health insurance card or another relevant document to a nurse/doctor), the health care provided will be in full or partially paid for by the insurance company.  In case the health insurance company covers the service only partially, you will be required to pay the rest directly to the health care provider. If you are not covered by a health insurance, you will have to pay the full amount for the healthcare provided.

 

General practitioners and specialists have their consulting rooms in hospitals ("nemocnica") or in the 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.

Consult:

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. Please note that even if you have an insurance, part of the dental 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.

The list of dental practices 

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.

The list of hospitals 

If you need emergency services ("záchranná služba"), dial the telephone number "112" which is an integrated number for all services. The dispatchers should be able to speak English. You may also call the 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 for a safe transport of patients to the 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.

The list of emergency health care providers 

Important telephone numbers:

  • Integrated emergency rescue system: 112 (communication in foreign languages possible)

  • Emergency ambulance service: 155

  • Rescue line ('Reťaz Života' Foundation): 0850 111313. (A doctor will advise you about how to provide the first aid prior to the arrival of the medical rescue team).

Emergency ambulance telephone numbers:

  • Emergency ambulance service in Banská Bystrica: 048 414 6666

  • Emergency ambulance service in Bratislava: 02 6383 3130 (children, Strečnianska 13/Petržalka), 02 4827 9257 (adults, Ružinovská 10/hospital 'Ružinov'), 02 5937 1111 (children, Limbová 1/hospital 'Kramáre'), 02 5954 1111 (adults, Limbová 5/hospital 'Kramáre')

  • Emergency ambulance service in Nitra: 037 654 5288, 037 651 4259

  • Emergency ambulance service in Košice: 055 285 1700

  • Emergency ambulance service in Prešov: 051 756 3511, 051 770 5670

  • Emergency ambulance service in Trenčín: 032 649 1919, 032 656 6711

  • Emergency ambulance service in Trnava: 033 593 8111

  • Emergency ambulance service in Žilina: 041 5110 348, (V. Spanyola 43)

You can buy medicines only in pharmacies ("lekáreň"), located in every town and in some villages (they are marked with a green cross). In each town, at least one emergency pharmacy ("pohotovostná lekáreň") must be open for 24 hours every day so that the emergency service is provided 24/7. Their service schedule is based on the rotation system. For further details, consult the information placed on the door of every pharmacy or online. During the 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.

The list of pharmacies

The schedule of emergency pharmacies in Bratislava region

 

Find out more on Health insurance and Social security.