Please be advised that SilaMed's information about the medical treatment in Germany of the foreign patients, reimbursement of costs in the UK as well as the travel insurance for medical treatment are based on the data provided by the official sites of NHS, the European Commission and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
You have health insurance in England (NHS) and would like to undergo treatment in Germany. We have collated information for you about doctors, dentists and hospitals, and on your rights during or after any treatment in Germany.
Germany ranks in the top 25 according to the World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems. Patients from all corners of the globe receive first-class treatment here – from acute care to rehabilitation. Germany owes its leading position to the unparalleled level of collaboration between science, research, industry and medicine. The healthy climate, unspoilt nature and wide range of shops and cultural attractions also play a part in making patients and their families feel well looked after.
Germany is home to over 2,000 hospitals which treat around 18.5 million cases to the highest standard every year. More than 1,200 hospitals offer inpatient care and rehabilitation. Flat organisational hierarchies and intensive collaboration between specialist departments make it possible for doctors to take a holistic approach to treatment and offer state-of-the-art therapies at the cutting edge of research. Thirty-five university hospitals in Germany are recognised as centres of supra-maximum care, offering highly sophisticated medical facilities and multiple specialisations.
Using the most advanced medical techniques is the norm in Germany. It enables as many operations as possible to be performed using minimally invasive procedures. This reduces the risks of surgery and can to a large extent prevent scarring. Less aggressive procedures can be carried out, for example, to treat conditions affecting the spine or slipped discs. Neurosurgeons are able to reach structures deep in the brain without causing damage to healthy tissue. And by using these interventional techniques, doctors are often able to avoid major surgical procedures such as open-heart surgery.
Since 2005 it has been a legal requirement for German hospitals to regularly publish structured quality reports online. This ensures transparency in quality standards and puts key information at the fingertips of patients and their families. The German healthcare system as a whole places great importance on quality management and quality assurance. Evidence of this is provided by certifications that have to be repeated at regular intervals. Most hospitals and medical practices are certified according to the quality management system DIN EN ISO 9001 and KTQ (Cooperation for Transparency and Quality in Healthcare). Hospitals in Germany also assess themselves according to EFQM standards (European Foundation for Quality Management), which follows a model of total quality management focused on processes, strategies and key performance indicators. A number of German hospitals are accredited by JCI (Joint Commission International), which ensures that the hospital’s internal processes demonstrate high standards of treatment and care.
In addition to high-tech medicine, Germany offers an outstanding infrastructure for preventive therapy, rehabilitation, the treatment of chronic illnesses and health-related travel. There are over 1,200 institutions specialised in preventive healthcare and rehabilitation and more than 350 certified spas and health resorts offering patients and their families everything they need to feel well looked after. Here traditional healing methods and natural remedies suchas mineral-rich waters, thermal waters or salt are incorporated into new and innovative therapies based on the latest medical findings.
Around ten per cent of all hospitals in Germany specialise in treating international patients and have set up additional services to meet their requirements. These range from interpreter services and assistance with visa formalities to looking accompanying friends and family. Television channels in the patient’s native language are available in their rooms on request. German hospitals are particularly popular with patients from the former Soviet Union, Arab countries and the USA. Indeed patient numbers from Russia have more than tripled over the past five years. However, it is not just the patients who benefit from coming to Germany. Accompanying family members can indulge in wellness treatments at Germany’s spa and health resorts or enjoy the German countryside on long walks or cycling tours – while at the same time giving their own health a boost. There is a wealth of entertainment on offer with cultural attractions such as castles, palaces and museums and a packed calendar of events.
The German healthcare system provides for a comprehensive range of benefits and a high level of healthcare. As a patient in Germany, you can expect high-quality medical care, provided by well-trained physicians or dentists and who use state-of-the-art medical equipment.
People in Germany have either statutory or private health insurance.
The “benefits-in-kind principle” applies in statutory health insurance, according to which persons with statutory health insurance do not have to make upfront payments to the respective healthcare provider (for instance their doctor) for the cost of treatment. Instead, the healthcare provider provides the desired service and subsequently bills it to the statutory healthcare insurer of the person with health insurance, the “health insurance funds”. The range of benefits is regulated according to statutory requirements. The various health insurance funds can offer additional benefits to supplement these prescribed benefits. More than 90 percent of the benefits offered are however stipulated uniformly by law for all patients with statutory health insurance.
The “benefits-in-kind principle” does not apply in private health insurance. In the case of persons with private health insurance, the respective healthcare provider issues a bill after the treatment. The amount of the costs for the individual benefits is set by fee scales. In a normal case, the patient pays the bill and then submits it to his/her healthcare insurer to have all or part of the costs reimbursed.
Before undergoing treatment in Germany, you should ask your doctor or dentist in Germany what information and documents he/she needs in advance in order to ensure that treatment is successful.
Please note that SilaMed cannot provide any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and does not make recommendations in choosing a German medical provider – that is a decision that remains entirely up to you.