Medical services

Medical services

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). 

General overview

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.

Emergency phone number: 112

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.

Urgent care

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.

Urgent care - Hospitals
  • 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.
At the doctor’s

In Ostrava many doctors speak English. Sometimes you have to be a bit patient with them, they may be less fluent, but this does not make their medical specialism any less valid. Your health insurance company (please check the special section on Health Insurance) should duly inform you about the doctor/s who are their contractors. If you need to discuss something special into detail or to use another language with the doctor, it is better to bring an interpreter along.

The nurses, unfortunately, do not always speak English well enough to talk to you. When you go to visit a doctor or a hospital without someone to accompany you and interpret for you, the nurse is the first person you have to speak with. The nurses usually want to see your ID and the Health Insurance card. Then they might ask you about the purpose of your visit. With the Google Translator in your hand you can manage a lot.

Useful phrases
I need a doctor (urgently).Potřebuji (urgentně) doktora. 
Do you have an appointment?Jste objednaný?
I have an appointment.Jsem objednaný.
I’d like to make an appointment with Dr …Prosím chci se objednat k Dr. … 
Is there an English speaking doctor here?Je tu doktor, který mluví anglicky?
I have a private medical insurance.Mám soukromé zdravotní pojištění.
I have European Health Insurance.Mám kartu evropského zdravotního
 pojištění.
Please take a seatProsím, posaďte se.
Please do come in to see the doctor.Pojďte dál. Pan doktor / paní doktorka vás vezme.
Am I free to choose a doctor?

You are free to choose your General Practitioner and Specialists as long as the doctors accept new patients and they have signed a contract with your Health Insurance Company. Exceptionally, i.e. in urgent, essential and emergency cases, your Insurance House will reimburse your treatment also to doctors who do not have a contract with the InsuranceCompany, but this does not apply to regular treatment. It is recommended to contact your Health Insurance Company and ask for a list of doctors in your area.

Do I have to pay for the medical services?

Your insurance plan covers visits to your GP. If you need a specialist, your GP will arrange this for you: you first need to see your GP to get a ‘recommendation’ to see a specialist, i.e. a document called a “request” (=žádanka). The financial aspect is the same as in the case of treatment by your GP. Please make sure that the recommended specialist has a contract with your Health Insurance Provider. If you are insured with an International Insurance Provider which does not have an office in the Czech Republic, you will have to pay the doctor in cash. S/he will give you a bill and your Insurance Provider will reimburse your bills later. This procedure is less common in the Czech Republic and most doctors might not be used to it. However, private doctors are more likely to know the ropes and provide you with a receipt for the service. If you do not want to wait for the appointment and want to see a specialist immediately some private doctors will ask you to pay an extra fee not covered by any of the  Insurance Companies (usually about 500 CZK). This may also happen if you come for specialist treatment without a previous appointment. Please check the policies with the private doctors. Also some dentists operate fully outside any Health Insurance plan and you will have to cover all the received care if you choose their services. So it is wise to “open your mouth and ask about the conditions” before you open your mouth for the treatment.

NB: There is a small fee required to pay no matter what your insurance is e.g. the regulation fee (90 CZK) for urgent or emergency health care. Also some medicaments and special vaccinations are not fully covered and you will have to cover a part or all of the prescription.

Preventive dental check-ups twice a year and routine treatment (e.g. dental fillings, or an x-ray once every two years) are covered by health insurance. For using non-standard materials for fillings, such as white fillings, having a tooth capped etc., you will have to pay extra. This also applies to Czechs, the rules do not differ.

What is the compulsory vaccination for my child?

In the Czech Republic the vaccination of children is compulsory and if you bring your children for a period longer than 3 months it is your obligation to follow the Czech Law regarding the vaccination of children. The Czech Law states that every child has to be vaccinated for the following diseases (sometimes the vaccinations are in a compound form with others and have to be repeated): Diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae B, Measles, Mumps, Polio, Rubella, Tetanus, Viral hepatitis B, Whooping cough and, for children at risk, also TBC, all within 4 – 6 weeks after they are born.

All the above mentioned vaccines are free, i.e. the price of the vaccine is fully covered by the Government. The Internationals pay for the administration and the injection (approx. 300 CZK). If you have Czech public health insurance, the injections administration is for free as well.

Regarding the vaccination plan, the Pediatrician has to meet the legal requirements of both the Czech Republic and your home country. So if your home country has another compulsory vaccination, the Czech MD (Medical Doctor) will apply it to your child. But such a vaccination will have to be paid extra.

Medical facilities

There are three large hospitals in Ostrava. All have very good Emergency Wards, Hospital wards and also extensive Outpatient services. There are also many Outpatient Clinics, Medical Centres and Pharmacies all around the city.

Major Hospitals in Ostrava
  • Municipal Hospital in Ostrava

    This hospital provides Urgent Care for adults and children during nights, weekends and public holidays.

Are there any pharmacies open 24/7?

In Ostrava the pharmacies (= Lékárna) with the longest opening hours are to be found in Shopping Centres (9 am – 9 pm every day with the exception of some public holidays). The non-stop “Urgent Care Pharmacies” opened  24/7 will only operate on a limited scale at nights, during weekends and public holidays. Their service will be limited solely to attend to the prescriptions brought by you from the “Urgent Care” specialists. For that service they usually require you to use a different entrance than on weekdays, so please do not be surprised.

  • Pharmacy with Urgent Care Service of the Municipal Hospital

    Open: Mo-Fri 6pm - 7am, weekends/holidays - nonstop

    • situated inside the Hospital premises to the right of the Main Entrance.
  • Pharmacy with Urgent Care Service of the Faculty Hospital (FN Ostrava)

    Open: 24/7

    • situated inside the Hospital premises, ground floor
Outpatient Clinics and Medical Centres

= Poliklinika, Zdravotní středisko, “Ambulance”

NB: The word Ambulance in Czech will be most probably used for an Outpatient Doctor’s Office. The Ambulance as a specialised vehicle is referred to as “sanitka” in Czech. So to see the list of Outpatient services in the Municipal Hospital, please click on Ambulance after the link opens.

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