Finding English-Speaking Doctors, Dentists and Opticians

One of the most daunting aspects when coming to live in Germany is what to do when medical problems occur.

I am often asked how to go about finding an English-speaking doctor, dentist or optician. I plan on doing a full article on this subject in the future, but for now I want to share my experiences since being here. One of the biggest myths about Germany is that everyone speaks English. A bigger myth is that all professionals speak it fluently. Whilst these myths may be true in large cosmopolitan cities, it isn’t the case in other ‘lesser’ areas. Continue reading “Finding English-Speaking Doctors, Dentists and Opticians”

English-speaking Medical Specialists

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. Continue reading “English-speaking Medical Specialists”

Health Guide for Immigrants

After much digging on the internet, I discovered a reasonably useful booklet titled “Health Guide for persons with migration background in Rheinland-Pfalz”. I say “reasonably” as it was published in 2010, although the bulk of the information in it should still be valid.

Published by Landeszentrale für Gesundheitsförderung in Rheinland-Pfalz e.V. as part of the “Healthcare Economy Initiative Rheinland-Pfalz”, it contains useful information on the German healthcare system. Topics covered include regular preventative check-ups, visiting a doctor, sick leave from work, state health insurance and dealing with medical emergencies.

The brochure is available in three different languages:

It’s unfortunate that such well-meant initiatives never seem to get very far. As mentioned above, the brochure has not been updated since 2010. It is also hidden deep in the Landeszentrale für Gesundheitsförderung in Rheinland-Pfalz e.V. website which is only available in German. It would be a real help if they at least put some flags on the homepage to take you directly to these documents. Also, the brochure also mentions another website, www.gesund-in-rlp.de, but that just links back to the Landeszentrale für Gesundheitsförderung.

NotfallQR – Quick Response in an Emergency

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Now here’s a rather good idea – “Notfallqr” which in English means “Emergency qr”.

NotfallQR is a scheme where certain key details about yourself such as identity, emergency contact details, blood type, medical conditions, vehicle type and the like are stored in a central database. You are provided with key rings and car window stickers containing QR codes (basically square bar codes) and these codes are your unique identifier.

In the event of an emergency, the crews attending the scene can scan the QR codes to access your stored data. This means they can quickly and easily identify you, contact your next of kin, find out about any medical conditions you have and even (from the type of vehicle you drive) decide how to get your out of your car if you become trapped.

The service currently costs just €14.95 for a lifetime of cover, although I got mine free some time ago from the Sanicare online pharmacy as they were running a promotion. Further details are available here or you ask at your nearest pharmacy.

(Picture courtesy of the NotfallQR website)

Healthcare In Germany

Moving abroad is a massive step. Numerous worries cross our minds ranging from whether our lack of the native language really will be a barrier through to seemingly trivial things like are decent tea bags available? However, one of the biggest and most important concerns is what are the healthcare arrangements in case of sickness or injury?

This is a complex subject which I won’t even try to cover in depth here as numerous factors such as nationality, salary and employment status are involved. Even if you are from another European state, it will not necessarily be so familiar – I am British and found that the German healthcare system is organised and administered very differently to the British National Health Service.

Luckily, “How To Germany” have a page on their website titled “Health Insurance Options in Germany – 2018” giving good explanations of how the German healthcare system works, including translations of common German words used in the industry. Clicking your mouse here to go directly to that page.

Damp In All The Wrong Places

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Does anybody know any good surveyors, specialists or builders capable of properly assessing damp problems and proposing remedies?

I am not looking for the usual cowboy gangs (who are sadly in the majority) who stick a two pronged resistance meter in the wall and declare the whole universe is suffering from rising damp, I am looking more for someone who understands older buildings and how they “breathe”, the use of traditional breathable materials such as lime plaster and can give proper guidance rather than promote methods which just hide the problems and ultimately make matters worse.

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From my limited knowledge, I know that most damp problems are not generally caused by ‘rising damp’ as is usually considered to be the culprit. Instead, they are very often caused by surprisingly simple things, invariably by the previous use of modern materials for repairs and renovations which actually trap moisture. This trapped moisture often goes unnoticed until and only manifests itself when the real damage is done. Old houses generally relied on being able to ‘breath’ to keep damp out, but over the years the trend has been to seal places to keep the precious heat in or to make them easier to maintain, although this is often to the detriment of the building.

I would really appreciate any feedback or experiences both good and bad from others who have had damp problems to contend with, and as usual I have included a contact form below and I promise not publish anything told to me without express permission.

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