As discussed in my previous post titled “Finding English-Speaking Doctors, Dentists and Opticians”, one of the most daunting things about living abroad is finding help for medical problems.
I know from personal experience that locating English-speaking medical practitioners is not easy in Germany. Of course, they do exist, but they rarely advertise their language abilities making finding them rather difficult. In this article, I try to give you some guidance on how to find what you are looking for.
There are many internet search engines dedicated to finding doctors. Most even allow you to search by their language capabilities. The big problem is the search engines themselves are all in German! Thus, I will talk you through one of the search engines and how to use it.
In this article, I will use the search engine on the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztliche Vereinigung) website. It is specifically for Rhineland Palatinate making it relevant to users in the Mosel region. To use it, you need to do the following:
In the search form, you need to type (in German) the type of doctor you are looking for in the “Suchbegriff(e)” box. The following is a list of common types of doctor:
Dentist – Zahnarzt
Dermatologist – Hautarzt
Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist – HNO-Spezialisten
Family doctor / General Practitioner (GP) – Hausarzt
Obstetricians and Gynecologists – Frauenarzt, Gynäkologe
Ophthalmologist – Augenarzt
Optician – Optiker
Orthopaedic – Orthopädische
Paediatrician – Kinderarzt
Physiotherapist – Physiotherapeut
Psychologist – Psychologe
Physiologist – Physiologe
Urologist – Urologe
Please note that adding “in” (and dropping the “e” if there is one) onto the end of the German name means the doctor will be a woman (e.g. “Hausarztin”, “Urologin”, “Optikerin”). The plural of “Arzt” (doctor) is “Ärzte”.
The above list is not exhaustive, but it does cover most of the professionals likely to be needed. Unfortunately, it does not seem to include dentists.
Note that the “Suchbegriff(e)” box also accepts general search terms, so if for example, you know the name of a doctor but not the address, you can simply type the doctor’s name here to try their full details.
The first port of call is usually a family doctor / GP (“Hausarzt”), and they will refer you to specialists if necessary. A comprehensive online dictionary of medical terms can be found by clicking here.
The “PLZ” box is for searching on your postcode (e.g. Zell is 56856), and “Umkries” allows you to select the radius (in Kilometres) of the search around your given postcode. Alternatively, you can just enter the name of your town/village in “Ort”.
- “Fachgebeit” and “Behandlungsart”
Leave these blank unless your German is good as they relate to specializations, etc.
- “Behandlung bei”
This allows you to filter by gender of the doctors. Checking “Frau” will give details of only female doctors, “Mann” only men and “beliebig” if you have no preference.
- “In MVZ tätig”
This relates to Medical Care Centre cooperation which is where several medical specialists are under one roof. Unless you are good at German, it’s best to leave this as “beliebig” (no preference).
Relates to appointment time preference. Here you can select the day(s) you prefer:
“Mo” – Monday (Montag)
“Di” – Tuesday (Dienstag)
“Mi” – Wednesday (Mittwoch)
“Do” – Thursday (Donnerstag)
“Fr” – Friday (Freitag)
“Sa” – Saturday (Samstag)
“So” –Sunday (Sonntag)
Specific parts of the day can also be selected, with “Vormittag” being morning, “Nachmittag” being afternoon and “Abend” being evening. No preference is “beliebig”.
You may find that by being too prescriptive with the timings will result in fewer search results, so it is best to be as flexible as possible.
In this box, type (or select from the dropdown box) “Englisch” if you are looking for an English-speaking doctor. Examples of other languages are:
Arabic = Arabisch
Dutch = Niederländisch
Persian = Persisch
French = Französisch
Greek = Griechisch
Hindi = Hindi
Italian = Italienisch
Pashtun = Pashtun
Spanish = Spanisch
Turkish = Türkisch
Urdu = Urdu
- The other checkboxes on the form allow you to further filter for the following search criteria:
“behindertengerechte Praxis“ – facilities for the disabled
“Hausbesuche“ – home visits
“kindgerechte Praxis” – child-friendly practices
“Website” – practice has its own website
“Parkplätze” – car parking available
- When you have completed the fields you need, hit “suchen” and you will be presented with a list of doctors that fulfil your selected criteria. To see the full details, such as contact details and consulting times, click on the individual doctor’s names.
The next hurdle will be making the actual appointment. For more guidance on that, please refer to my previous article referred to above – you can click on the link to go straight to it.