Having a health issue while in Iceland? Do not panic, here’s how to find help if you suddenly need to see a doctor or find medicine in Iceland. Iceland has a modern medical system and has medical centres and hospitals that are similar to other European countries.
Pharmacies (apótek in Icelandic) are generally open from 10 am to 6 pm on weekdays, from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays and public holidays. In the Icelandic capital, two pharmacies remain open until midnight: Lyfja Lágmúla and Lyfja Smáratorgi. In more isolated areas, there is often no pharmacy, or they open very limited hours so if you depend on certain medications do make sure and get it before you go on a trip.
Medication for headaches or other pain are sold without problems in all pharmacies, but for other types of medication you will need a prescription. For this, you must go to a doctor’s office, or Heilsugæsla, where you will see a doctor. You need an appointment between 8 am and 3 pm, then from 3 pm you can go to the doctor’s office spontaneously and wait for your turn to see a doctor. There is also a telephone hotline every morning if you wish to talk privately with a doctor. The wait can be long but once on the line with the doctor they will take the time to listen to you.
If you have an accident or need immediate medical attention, go to the hospital emergency room. The country’s two main hospitals are located in Reykjavik and Akureyri. In case of emergency, you can also call 112 who will tell you the procedure. For the less severe cases you can call 1770 to speak with a nurse who can also tell you the location of the nearest medical centre or clinic.
If you have Form E-111 or the European Health Insurance Card, you will not have to pay any medical costs, but some of the care costs may still be your responsibility. Please check before leaving to find out what kind of benefits will be covered by your insurance.
If you are in the hospital and do not speak any Icelandic, you should be able to ask the staff to find an interpreter who speaks English. This can be a little more complicated in the smaller cities but do ask as they will try to accommodate you.
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