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.
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.
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.
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 the hospital.
Urgency does not necessarily mean Emergency. In Emergency situations, life is directly in danger. So it should not be used when you can visit a GP, or a specialist or use urgent care outside working hours.
If you have an illness or an injury that is too serious to be dealt with by your GP the next morning (or after the weekend is over), but not serious enough to call an ambulance, you should go for “Urgent care”. See Urgent care hospital below.
Urgent care operates Monday to Friday 5 pm to 10 pm, and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 8 am to 8 pm. For Urgent Care, there is a direct regulation fee of CZK 90 per patient of all ages.
During normal working hours (on weekdays from 7 am to 5 pm), you should first go to your GP if you require urgent care. GPs 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.
- The Municipal Hospital of Ostrava (Městská nemocnice Ostrava). The Emergency operates 24/7. Besides the Emergency, Urgent care for adults, Urological and Gynecological 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 the University Hospital in Poruba. The office is on the ground floor on the right side.
- The University Hospital (“Fakultní nemocnice Ostrava”, aka FNO) provides highly specialised Emergency Services 24/7 especially for polytraumatic emergencies. 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. The medical dental emergency service is provided by AJNA dental clinic s.r.o. in Závodní 2885/86, 703 00 Ostrava–Vítkovice. 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: CZK 90. 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.