Being an expat doesn’t protect you from medical checks unfortunately. Whether you caught a bad fever in the U-Bahn, needs to see a gynecologist or have a particular condition to tend to, it’s never easy to find a doctor you can trust. Let’s not even start about finding the right German vocabulary to attempt to describe what you have! Sometimes, it’s just easier to talk to an English-speaking doctor in Berlin.
Choosing your doctor is an extremely important decision. It’s a trusted ally to keep your body and mind fit, whether you are old or young, a woman or a man, with a good or bad immune system. All the general considerations that goes into picking are made even more complicated by the fact that your German skills haven’t allowed you to discuss anatomy or perceptions details. This decision is just too important.
Let’s face it: the language barrier is still there when it come to medical conversations
I ran into the same problems when i needed to see an English-speaking doctor in Berlin to be able to convey exactly the symptoms i was suffering from (a back related pain due to my poor sitting position at the desk & my lack of athletic activities, it turned out).
Finding an English-speaking doctor in Berlin is pretty easy
If you need to see an English-speaking doctor in Berlin, it’s very easy. There is a database called Ärtze Berlin that lists almost all of them on this website. Simply enter your Bezirk, the specialty you are looking for and specify the language. You can even switch tabs and look for a precise therapy area if you need that.
A similar service is available on the KV Berlin website if you don’t find what you want on the first portal.
Those databases are pretty neat, and most important of all: up-to-date !
You can also find doctors that speak your own language too
That same database allows to find not only an English-speaking doctor in Berlin, but also one that speaks Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, etc.
However, it’s also generally a good idea to look at your embassy’s website. They often have a list of recommended doctors. It might sometimes not be up-to-date but doctors practices are fairly stable businesses, so there isn’t much risk giving them a call. Some other lists that i found on the web were:
- Spanish: Here is a pretty handy list from the website Berlin en español.
- French: A list provided by the French embassy in Berlin
- Italian: A cool Google Map posted by an unknown user. Berlin Italy is also a good resource.
- Polish: A list on the Polonia Berlin website.
- Farsi & Arabic: This excellent map by the Arriving in Berlin project shows doctors you can go to.
If you know about lists for other languages, do let me know in the comments; i will add it to this page.
Others doctor-related things to know in Germany
Notruf – Emergency numbers:
When you have a grave accident at home or outside and can’t go to the hospital, you can call 112 from any phone to call for an ambulance. This number is the emergency number everywhere in the E.U. Don’t worry about German here, there will probably be a doctor or a nurse to take care of you in English once at the hospital.
If you feel like you need an English-speaking doctor for a medical emergency that doesn’t need to rush you to the hospital, you also can call 116 117. You will be connected to a central call-center that can guide you to the nearest practice operating outside of normal working hours.
The road often starts with a general practitioner before the specialist
If you know you need a specialist to treat a certain condition you have, don’t go to one directly or else your Krankenkasse might not cover it. It is best to go first to a general practitioner for an early diagnostic. If you need a specialist, he/she will give an “Überweisung”, a referral to go and see one. This little extra step makes sure your Krankenkasse covers it.
What if i’m just a tourist here and don’t have German health insurance?
If you are an EU citizen, you probably have a EHIC card that allows to benefit from the same coverage than at least what locals have. In some countries, this card is included with your domestic one, in others you have to ask for it. It’s for free.
If you are not an EU citizen, you might want to book a travel insurance or something similar to offset any costs that might occur. If it’s an emergency of course, no English-speaking doctor in Berlin will refuse to see you.
Some basic vocabulary to get you going if you need some:
- Artzt : Doctor
- Zahnarzt, Augenarzt: Dentist, Eye doctor
- Termin : Appointment
- Not : Emergency
- Es ist dringend: It is an emergency
Good luck and get better soon.