What to do when you need to see a doctor in Stockholm? Here is some useful information on your rights as a patient, availability of interpreters and costs for healthcare and dental care.
Emergency, primary and specialist care
Everyone in Sweden is entitled to emergency care. EU citizens with a European Health Insurance Card have the right to emergency care at the same subsidised cost as Swedish residents, while citizens from non-EU countries are responsible for the full cost.
That’s why citizens of non-EU countries are strongly advised to take out comprehensive health insurance from their home countries to cover any initial costs before being registered as residents. It will be difficult to meet a regular primary care physician before you are registered as a Swedish resident with a personal identity number but you can visit your local hospital’s A&E in case of emergency.
Once you have your personal identity number you can visit doctors at the same cost as Swedish citizens.
Register with a local primary care doctor
Once you have received your personal identity number, you can register with a local primary care doctor. 1177.se offers advice on choosing a doctor as well as a useful search function (in Swedish) for healthcare facilities near you. Usually, you will register at a local health centre (vårdcentral) where several doctors and nurses practice. Registering usually involves sending a form to the health centre with your personal details, confirming that you would like to register at that centre. You will then be assigned a main primary care doctor.
Once you’ve signed up with a doctor, you can call to make an appointment when you fall ill. Some centres even use online booking systems. Many health centres also offer walk-in hours.
Seeing a specialist
Generally, your first contact when you fall ill should be your primary care doctor. If you require specialist care, your doctor will send a referral to a specialist, who will contact you with information on your appointment.
Healthcare information, fees & interpreters
The official website 1177.se offers extensive information on healthcare, including general information on your rights as a patient, advice on basic healthcare issues, and help finding the right doctor’s practice close to you. You can also dial 1177 from your phone while in Sweden for free healthcare advice.
Patient fees for primary care vary between SEK 100 and 200 depending on the county council. For specialist visits, there is an additional fee of a maximum SEK 300.
The maximum cost for visits to a doctor in a 12-month period is SEK 1,100. This ceiling is referred to as high-cost protection. This means that if you visit the doctor repeatedly, you will only need to pay until you reach this amount. For the rest of the 12-month period, your visits will be free.
There is a similar ceiling for prescription medication, so nobody pays more than SEK 2,200 in a 12-month period.
More information about patient fees at 1177.se.
Most healthcare professionals speak English. But if you or your family need an interpreter to communicate with your doctor, this can be arranged free of charge.
If your doctor prescribes you medication, you collect your prescription at one of many pharmacies. Prescriptions are often sent electronically, so that you can collect your medication from any pharmacy without bringing a paper prescription. If you’re unsure of where to collect your prescription, you can ask at your health centre.
Pharmacists are highly educated and will give you instructions on how to use your prescription medication. You can also ask pharmacists for advice on non-prescription drugs. A high-cost limit of SEK 2,200 applies for prescription medication every 12-month period.
Dental care is free of charge for everyone until the age of 20. Patients over 20 receive a dental care allowance for regular visits to the dentist. Like other healthcare, you are free to choose your dentist. Use the search function at 1177.se (in Swedish) to find a dentist.
See the Social Insurance Agency’s guide to dental care in Sweden for guidelines and cost estimates.