One usually does not think much about medical care until the moment when it becomes urgent. Fortunately, the overall level of medical services in the Czech Republic is high. Ostrava has a number of top specialists, hospitals and independent medical centres (often called “poliklinika” in Czech).
The way you can make use of the medical care depends on the type of health insurance you have (public or commercial) and the particular health insurance company the medical service has a contract with. In any case, it is good to know who your general practitioner (GP) is and if the doctor speaks English, what the opening hours are and if s/he can accept you (some doctors do not accept new patients, especially dentists.) If in trouble, ask for assistance from your health insurance company.
Obviously nobody can stay without help. There is a 24 hour Emergency Service for injuries and urgent cases in The Municipal Hospital of Ostrava that will accept you if your case is really urgent. With less urgent cases you can find a specialist or consult your GP first. You can also choose any hospital with an Emergency Ward, such as FNO.
To see the public and commercial health insurance options please refer to the Health Insurance chapter of this webpage.
NB: For EU citizens in the first 90 days of their stay the necessary emergency care is free of charge (covered by EU health insurance). For all other cases health insurance is inevitable and required by law.
Also, some employers have their own “Company” doctor who works in the role of a GP. If you are or will be employed, please check this option. In the Czech Republic, there is a system of electronic prescriptions that can be sent to you via SMS or e-mail and you collect them at the pharmacy. This makes things easier, so in many cases when a repeat prescription is needed you may simply send your doctor an email and you do not have to go to their office. Also sick leave is now on an electronic basis.
Any time, 24 hours a day, if you have a serious emergency (that may even be life-threatening) please call 112. It is the European Emergency Number and the operators speak English. They will send you an ambulance with medical help and mobile life-saving devices. You will get an examination on the spot, first aid treatment and, if it is necessary, you will be taken to hospital.
Urgency does not necessarily mean Emergency. In Emergency situations, life is directly in danger. The Integrated Rescue System (IZS), covers all services from the Fire Brigades to Medical Rescuers.
On the 112 line the operators speak English. However, this line is reserved only for life-threatening cases, so it should not be used when you can visit a GP, a specialist or use the emergency care outside working hours. The operator at 112 will talk to you, give instruction for first aid and send an Ambulance or other rescuers.
If you have an illness or an injury that is too serious to be dealt with by your GP (General Practitioner) the next morning (or after the weekend is over), but not serious enough to call an ambulance, you should go for “Urgent care”. During normal working hours (on weekdays from 7 am to 5 pm), you should first go to your GP if you require urgent care. MDs (Medical Doctors, in Czech: lékař/ka, pan doktor, paní doktorka) usually reserve early morning hours for urgent cases and later in the afternoon they reserve time for planned preventive measures. If you have an infectious disease with discharge from your nose, sneezing and/or coughing, a high temperature or think you might have a contagious disease, call your doctor first and do not go there in person. At other times, Monday to Friday 5 pm to 7 am, and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays at all times, you should make your own way to the hospital to the: “Urgent Care” (Lékařská pohotovostní služba pro dospělé), or “Central Reception and Emergency” (Centrální příjem a Pohotovost). The latter covers higher health risks and is connected to all hospital services, while the former usually covers seeing a doctor or a dentist. For Urgent Care, there is a direct regulation fee of 90 CZK per patient of all ages. These wards are for adults only.
It is to be emphasised that the Urgent Care and Emergency wards should not be abused and it is not there to simply extend the MDs’ opening hours. Only limited and really necessary services are provided. You are obliged to visit your GP during the nearest standard opening hours for more care and to consider your case within your previous health record. It is recommended not to put off medical care for the weekends as a “standard” approach.
- The Municipal Hospital of Ostrava (Městská nemocnice Ostrava). The Emergency operates 24/7. Besides the Emergency, Urgent care for adults, Urological and Psychiatric Urgent care are provided on an ongoing basis, while ORL and Ophthalmological Urgent Care alternates with the University Hospital in Poruba FNO.
- For children up to the age of 18 the patients should be brought to the Municipal Hospital: Pavilon B (budova Dětského lékařství, Janovského 2825/8, Ostrava – Moravská Ostrava). You will find the Entrance at the bottom left on the map. It is not accessible through the main entrance, but from the side. Urgent care services are available from 4.30 pm to 6.30 am on weekdays, and round-the-clock on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. You will pay a regulation fee of 90 CZK for the Urgent Care.
- The University Hospital (“Fakultní nemocnice Ostrava”, aka FNO) provides highly specialised Emergency Services 24/7 especially for polytraumatic emergencies. However, only ORL and Ophthalmological Urgent Care is provided, and the service is coordinated with the Municipal Hospital, so if you need an ophthalmologist over the weekend or at night, it is better to ask first which of the two hospitals is in charge.
- Every evening, on weekends and public holidays the dental emergency service is available right in the centre of Ostrava. The medical dental emergency service is provided by AJNA dental clinic s.r.o. in Poděbradova Street 2738/16, Ostrava. On weekdays the dental emergency is open from 6 pm to 6 am, and on weekends and public holidays the dentists are available 24 hours a day. Urgent Care fee: 90 CZK. Office hours: Working days: 18:00 – 06:00; Saturday, Sunday, public holidays: non-stop. Please do not abuse the service as it is by no means meant to replace regular and systematic care. The dentists attend only to unexpectedly painful cases, not to cavities one has been ignoring for days or even weeks.