For emergency care, call 112. Call are free of charge with services available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Hospitals are called Krankenhaus, literally "sick house". The Network for Better Medical Care Berlin can offer advice on choosing the right hospital and referrals. Consult the website or call: 49 (0)30-297 78 934 (Mon-Fri, 9 am – 6 pm).
Pharmacies are called Apothekes and shops are marked by red stylized "A" signs with the snake. In the Apotheke you'll need to ask for what you want as pharmacists are well trained and usually ask about symptoms and help diagnose what medication is needed. Usually there is someone who is at least conversational in English.
Pharmaceuticals are heavily regulated and most drugs are prescription only (verschreibung) rather than over-the-counter. Even common drugs you can get in grocery stores such as Aspirin are usually only available in the pharmacy.
If you need a pharmacy after usual business hours (most close by 18:00), every pharmacy should have a digital display with the address of the nearest 24-hour pharmacy (Notdienst / Apothekennotdienst). If it appears a 24-hour pharmacy is closed, just ring the bell and the on-duty pharmacist will answer. Note that there will be an extra charge for using this service and payment is made in cash. There is also a 24-hour pharmacy/medication helpline: 01189 and a website with all available pharmacies.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Berlin is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Germany. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Germany: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Germany, visit our partner APRIL International