Heath services in the Czech Republic are either public or private. The majority of them have agreements with the State Health Insurance Company on the provision and payment of healthcare. Emergency treatment and first aid are free for everyone visiting Prague. EU Citizens may get very cheap, or free, treatment (medical service) under reciprocal health-care treaties. Some other countries have arranged similar international agreements, so check with your appropriate local authority; you may get medical treatment free of charge. Other nationalities must pay for their treatment, usually up front. Everyone is required to pay for prescribed medications. First-aid ambulance services operate 24 hours a day. Health facilities are usually open from 7.15am to 6pm, except for Saturdays and Sundays. If you are using any medication it is best to bring your own but there are lots of pharmacies, some open for 24 hours. The staff in state hospitals speak very little English, so if you can afford to (or your travel insurance will cover it) it is best to use medical clinics for foreigners (not because they are of a better quality but simply to avoid the problem of a language barrier in these situations). In the case of medical treatment being required it is necessary to have your passport and valid insurance (cash or credit card if not insured or not an EU citizen). No vaccination certificates are required unless coming from an infected area.
How Czech hospital care compares with the rest of the EU? The Czech healthcare system is a mix of state and private hospitals, though state ones prevail. The Czech healthcare system is rated among the top five in Europe, and waiting periods for treatments are also quite short. The Czech Republic was also ranked fifth after adjustments for per capita spending on health. Regarding medical technology, the Czech Republic does not compare very well to the rest of the EU, but it is still satisfactory.
Pharmacies with a 24hr service
Pharmacies in the Czech Republic issue medicines and other materials necessary for treatment and healthcare based on doctors’ prescriptions and sometimes without them. Prescription medicines are issued free of charge or for a small fee if the patient’s health insurance does not cover the full amount. Some must be paid for in full by the patient.
- Prague 1 – Palackého 5, tel. 224 94 69 82
- Prague 2 – Pharmacy U sv. Ludmily, Belgická 37, tel. 225 51 97 31
- Prague 4 – Soukalova 3355
- Prague 4 – Thomayer Hospital, Vídeňská 800, tel. 261 084 01
- Prague 4 – Anny Drabíkové 534
- Prague 5 – Pharmacy Anděl, Štefánikova 6, tel. 227 320 194
- Prague 6 – Pod Marjánkou 12
- Prague 6 – Pharmacy Berytos, Vítězné náměstí 13, tel. 224 325 520
- Prague 7 – Milady Horakové 22
- Prague 8 – Heydukova 10
- Prague 8 – Budínova 2 (the Bulovka hospital), tel. 266 082 017
Medical Emergencies APOTHECARY
- Prague 1 – Palackého 5, tel. 224 94 69 82
- Prague 2 – Sokolská 27
- Prague 3 – Koněvova 205
- Prague 4 – Pacovská 31
- Prague 5 – Kartouzská 6
- Prague 6 – Pod Marjánkou 12
- Prague 7 – Dukelských hrdinů 1
- Prague 8 – Budínova 2 (the Bulovka hospital)
- Prague 9 – Sokolovská 304
- Prague 10 – Nad Olšinami 4
Dental treatment must be paid for.
Prague 1 – Palackého 5, tel. 22494 6981 (Mon-Fri 7pm-7am; Sat and Sun non-stop)
Prague 4 – Pacovská 31, tel. 29005 7932 (Mon-Fri 7pm-7am; Sat and Sun non-stop)
Foreign Medical Clinics
Most private clinics catering for foreigners have doctors on call 24 hours a day. Generally all doctors in private clinics speak well English and are accustomed to Western standards of care.
Polyclinic na Národní – Národní 9, Praha 1
They are specialists in internal medicine and neurology. There is a panel physician for US immigrant visas.
Nemocnice na Homolce – Roentgenova 2, Praha 5
By all accounts Prague’s best-equipped hospital, Na Homoice has a section known as the ‘Diplomat’s Clinic’ and foreigners’ health centre. The hospital has a staff of 170 doctors and nurses, and the full range of services you would expect of a big-city facility. Many doctors here are excellent; all are fully trained and qualified, and people are frequently referred here by the international medical centres and smaller clinics. Best rated hospital in Czech Republic by 2011 customer survey.
First Medical Clinic of Prague – Vyšehradská 35, Praha 2
The doctors at this clinic, the largest in the Czech Republic, speak English and practice general medicine, internal medicine, ophthalmology, neurology and paediatrics. Like many places, they will also do house calls. The fee for an ordinary visit starts at around 300 CZK, and you must call ahead for an appointment.
Canadian Medical Centre – Veleslavínská 30, Praha 6
This is one of the longest-operating international clinics in Prague. Many types of membership are available, and will get you expert treatment by Canadian and Czech doctors and a 24-hour on-call service. Non-members are treated as well, but they pay more. The clinic mostly offers primary care, but can also provide referrals in most specialities including dentistry. Like the American clinic, they will do hospitalisation assistance and provide an on-site pharmacy.
American Medical Centre – Janovského 48, Praha 7
Western-style health care is readily available at this American-run clinic, which has offices in Moscow, Kiev, Warsaw, Budapest and St. Petersburg. Doctors are both Czech and American, and specialists or referrals are available in acupuncture, cosmetics and reconstructive surgery, dermatology, gynaecology, orthopaedics, paediatrics, radiography and rehabilitation. They also have a private ambulance service and a comprehensive pharmacy, and help with hospitalisation. Also, the American clinic offers health-insurance reimbursements from several international firms, and home visits.
Unicare – Na Dlouhém lánu 11, Praha 6
This clinic has excellent Czech-trained doctors. Like most of the others, they offer a full range of primary care services as well as referrals in several specialities. UNICARE is known for its particularly good paediatric care centre.
Health Care Unlimited – Revoluční 19, Prague 1
As recently as 1995, this organisation was simply serving as an English-language referral service in Na Homolce hospital. Now, however, it has become a full-scale primary health centre with three doctors and nurse teams, all full-time and registered in the United States, EC and Czech Republic. In addition to a full range of general medicine, they offer specialist referral, physiotherapy, reflexology, massage and yoga. The clinic also has pre- and post-natal classes, a psychotherapist and a travel-immunisation service.
General Health Care Corporation – Praha 1, Krakovska 8
Health Centre Prague – Praha 1, Vodickova 28
International Clinic www.doctor-prague.cz
Health insurance for EU citizens
Since mid 2004 citizens from the individual EU member states, who travel temporarily to another EU member state and hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), are automatically insured. All healthcare providers in the EU, the EEA and Switzerland must accept patients from the EU in possession of an EHIC.
European Health Insurance Card
It is a good idea to apply for an EHIC card, especially if you don’t have travel insurance. It is a credit card-sized plastic card with your full name, and some other details including your date of birth, and it is valid for three years. The card is recognised in all EU states including the Czech Republic. If you are a UK resident you can apply for one at any post office, where you should ask for the EHIC application form. By providing this card along with a passport or ID card at hospitals etc you are fully covered, but you still have to pay cash for prescriptions.
Health insurance for non EU citizens
Citizens of countries outside of the EU should take out health insurance before leaving home. If they fail to do so, they are liable to pay for treatment at the point of delivery.
Extra insurance cover
Individuals from EU member countries can also take out extra health insurance cover (covering repatriation). The Czech State Health Insurance Company provides a commercial insurance product for those staying in the country for longer periods as tourists (www.vzp.cz).