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Although the NHS provides free, comprehensive health services in the United Kingdom, not all countries offer the same level of service. Before you travel abroad or emigrate, it’s essential you find out exactly what type of healthcare is available, whether you’re eligible to access it and, if so, how you go about getting medical help, when and if you need it.
Getting Emergency Help in Denmark
If an illness or accident leaves you seriously ill or injured, you’ll need to get medical assistance as quickly as possible.
For emergency help in a life-threatening situation in Denmark, you should call 112. This is a free number, which will connect you to the emergency services. Once you’re through to an operator, you’ll be able to tell them whether you require assistance from an ambulance, the police or the fire brigade.
In addition to this, Denmark offers a telephone medical service which is more appropriate for use in non-emergency scenarios. If you’re affected by a sudden injury or illness, you can speak to a medical professional before attending hospital. As well as reducing waiting times, this service enables you to get urgent medical advice which may help to minimise pain, discomfort or complications whilst you’re on your way to a hospital.
However, the number for the telephone medical service differs depending on the area you’re in:
Copenhagen and surrounding areas – 1813
Northern Denmark – (+45) 7015 0300
Central Denmark – (+45) 7011 3131
Southern Denmark – (+45) 7011 0707
Zealand – (+45) 7015 0700
In a non-emergency situation, you can also contact your local police department by calling 114.
Before you set off, it’s important to identify which region of Denmark you’ll be travelling to so that you can identify the relevant medical services. Furthermore, you’ll need to have the numbers for various regions if you plan on travelling around the country or visiting other areas. If you’re staying in Copenhagen but take a trip over to the island of Zealand, for example, you’ll want to have the assistance numbers for both regions so that you can summon medical help if you need to.
Paying for Emergency Medical Care in Denmark
If you require emergency medical care while you’re in Denmark, you will be given it but you’ll also receive a bill. As a UK citizen visiting or travelling in Denmark, you will be required to pay for emergency medical treatment you receive.
However, UK citizens with a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are unlikely to have to pay for the cost of their emergency treatment. In most cases, an EHIC covers some or all of the cost of emergency medical care provided by public hospitals in Denmark.
Remember – an EHIC won’t cover every eventuality so don’t assume you’ll always be able to access free or subsidised state-funded medical treatment in Denmark. If you’re planning on taking a cruise or going hiking in the Danish mountains and you come to harm, for example, an EHIC won’t cover the cost of rescue services. Similarly, you can’t obtain medical treatment from a private hospital and have the cost covered under the EHIC scheme.
As a European Health Insurance Card won’t necessarily cover the full cost of your emergency medical treatment, so you could still be left with a considerable bill once you’ve recovered. Due to this, it’s always advisable to take out travel insurance when you’re visiting Denmark.
Travel insurance policies can be obtained for relatively little outlay, but they can give you peace of mind when you’re visiting another country. Depending on the policy you buy and the level of coverage you obtain, the cost of your treatment should be covered by your insurer.
In addition to this, some travel insurance policies also cover the cost of bringing you back to the UK after a serious illness or injury. If you need to travel back via a medical helicopter, for example, this alone can cost tens of thousands of pounds. Providing your insurance policy includes coverage for this type of transport, your insurer should cover the cost if it is needed.
Can you use an EHIC in Denmark?
European Health Insurance Cards are valid in Denmark and UK citizens are still able to use them. However, this will change once the UK leaves the EU and it’s possible that changes could be brought in beforehand.
If you’re planning to travel to Denmark and you’re unsure whether the political situation has affected your entitlement to subsidised healthcare under the EHIC scheme, it’s always advisable to check before you make travel arrangements.
Don’t take anything for granted, however. Just because your European Health Insurance Card may have been valid at the time you booked your flight, it doesn’t necessarily mean it still will be by the time you arrive in the country.
If you book flights in January for a holiday in August, for example, the political situation may change in the intervening months and this could affect your entitlement to reduced-cost, state-funded healthcare. As well as checking the validity of your EHIC before making travel arrangements, you should also make follow-up checks before you leave the UK.
Travelling without an EHIC
If you’ve forgotten to take your European Health Insurance Card with you or you’ve lost it whilst travelling, you may need to prove your eligibility in order to access free or subsidised state-funded healthcare services in Denmark.
Known as a Provisional Replacement Certificate, or PRC, this is a document which confirms that you are entitled to use an EHIC. A specialist department in the UK deals with PRC requests and can send a certificate directly to the hospital you’re being treated in.
If you need a PRC, you will have to contact the Overseas Healthcare Services so it’s always advisable to take their number with you when you’re travelling to Denmark. The Overseas Healthcare Services are available between Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm UK time, and can be contacted on the following telephone numbers:
Calls from within the UK: 0191 218 1999
Calls from outside the UK: (+44) 191 218 1999
Dentistry in Denmark
For UK visitors to Denmark, dentistry services are usually fully or partially covered with an EHIC or a PRC, providing you visit a state-funded dentist. Like other healthcare services, consultations with private dentists or orthodontists aren’t covered under the scheme.
Non-emergency hospital treatment in Denmark
In order to obtain non-emergency hospital treatment in Denmark, you’ll need to be referred by a doctor or physician. Provided you have a valid EHIC or travel insurance, the cost of non-emergency treatment should be reimbursed in full or in part.
Getting a prescription in Denmark
As in the UK, there is a charge for prescription medication in Denmark. If you are prescribed medication in hospital, the hospital pharmacy may be able to dispense it for you. Alternatively, there are a number of pharmacies which over a 24-hour service, as well as chemists which are open during standard working hours, as well as limited hours over the weekend.
Bringing medication to Denmark
If you’ve been prescribed medication before you travel to Denmark, you may need to bring proof of your prescription with you. Controlled drugs, such as codeine or benzodiazepines, may also require an additional licence.
If you’re taking any prescribed medication, it’s always advisable to find out whether it’s prohibited in your destination. Most drugs which are legally prescribed in the UK will also be used in Denmark, but you will still have to obtain proof that you’ve been prescribed the medication, how long you need to take it for and other identity information.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition and you’re going to Denmark, you should ensure it’s safe for you to travel before you do so. In addition to this, you should inform your insurer so that you can obtain an appropriate travel insurance policy. Whilst a valid EHIC may enable you to obtain treatment for an existing medical condition in Denmark, an EHIC doesn’t cover the full cost of every treatment and is only valid until the UK leaves the EU. Additional healthcare coverage or insurance is, therefore, advisable for travellers to the country, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
Living and working in Denmark
If you’re staying in Denmark on a more permanent basis or if you are emigrating to the country, the rules regarding healthcare may differ. If you live in Denmark, are registered with the Civil Registration System and have a Danish healthcare insurance card, you should have full access to any state-funded healthcare facilities.
Alternatively, if you’re working in Denmark but are employed by a UK-based company, your healthcare may be funded by the UK. However, you should always check your healthcare entitlement with your employer and the relevant government department before leaving the UK.
Healthcare for pensioners in Denmark
If you’re a pensioner who has emigrated to Denmark from the UK, you may be entitled to state-run healthcare funded by the UK government. However, you’ll need to be in receipt of an exportable UK pension in order to be able to access this type of funding.
Even if you are eligible for UK-funded healthcare in Denmark, you’ll need to obtain a certificate of entitlement in order to confirm your eligibility. Also known as a C1 certificate, this enables you to prove you’re eligible to receive funded healthcare as and when you need it.
Obtaining an S1 Certificate of Entitlement
If you’re in possession of a valid S1 certificate it will help you to access healthcare services in Denmark. An S1 certificate can also ensure that your dependents are able to access the same services.
In order to obtain an S1 certificate, however, you’ll need to have worked and paid the relevant tax or national insurance contributions in the UK or receive some form of UK benefit, such as an exportable pension.
Although S1 certificates are valid whilst the UK remains in the EU, it is unclear what will happen once the UK has left the European Union. Some Member States may continue to allow UK citizens living in their country to access their healthcare services but this is not guaranteed. If you’re planning on applying for an S1 certificate or if you already have an S1 certificate, it’s important to have alternative healthcare options available in case your entitlement changes after the UK leaves the EU.
Healthcare for students in Denmark
If you’re studying for a short time in Denmark, a valid EHIC should enable you to obtain subsidised healthcare services for as long as the UK remains in the EU. However, it’s advisable for anyone with a valid EHIC to obtain additional travel insurance, and this applies to students too.
Students who are studying in Denmark for longer periods may be eligible to apply for residency. If students are registered with the Civil Registration System and they have a Danish health insurance card, they should be able to access state-run healthcare services.
Getting medical help if you don’t speak Danish
Falling ill or being injured can be traumatic in any location but if you don’t speak the local language, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what’s happening. Fortunately, most Danish hospitals will provide a translator if you need one, so you should be able to access information in your native language.
It may be helpful to have some basic knowledge of Danish terms so that you’re able to use them in an emergency situation. For example:
24-hour pharmacy – dØgnåbne apoteker
Ambulance – ambulance
Fire – brand
Police – politiet
Emergency – nØdsituation
Accessing healthcare in Denmark
If you’re travelling to Denmark, remember to keep emergency and non-emergency contact details to hand. Whilst it may be helpful to store these details in your phone, you should also write them down and keep them about your person so that you can access them if you lose your phone or it runs out of charge.
Although the European Health Insurance Card scheme has made it relatively easy for UK citizens to obtain healthcare in Denmark, the EHIC does not cover all medical costs. People travelling to Denmark are always advised to obtain appropriate travel insurance, whether they’re entering the country as a tourist, worker or are planning to apply for residency.
Furthermore, the state-funded healthcare services available to UK citizens and the validity of European Health Insurance Cards belonging to UK citizens is likely to change once the UK has left the EU. Due to this, you should ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage in case illness or injury occurs.