Swedish Dental & Health Care

It seems during my time in Manchester I had been too lucky as I have not needed to go to the GP nor dentist over my 2 years there. However, within 2 months of living in Sweden I needed to do both within a week of each other. So, I thought I should give an overview of my experience with both.

Overall, my experience of both Swedish dental care and health care were positive. I needed to go to the dentist because I fell off my bike and chipped my tooth. This was my own doing and although I was fine in myself and did not experience as much pain as perhaps would be expected, I did need to do something about my lacking tooth. I had to wait until the next day as I did it in the evening. I rang various dentists within Lund, however these were all booked up for the day. I was going away the next few days so wanted it done that day if I could. So, I started ringing dentists in Malmo where one said I could come in within the hour and have it fixed. This dentist was called T and City dentist Malmo. There was no issue me speaking in English to the dentist and receptionist and they were all very helpful with the situation.

I then went on my way to Malmo where I was seen immediately and had my tooth fixed. It was a very good job too and you now cannot tell where the fake bit is. The cost was about £155. This was decent considering it was the same day and I had insurance to cover it. Therefore, make sure you keep receipts of such things if it happens to you to ensure you can too.

The health care experience I had was not quite so swift. As background, if you are unsure what you need to do if you become ill in Sweden there is a helpline at 1177 and a website. I believe the phoneline is available 24/7 also. Additionally, you can ring the Lund University nurse who can give you advice on how to go about your situation.

To get an appointment with a doctor, the procedure is similar to home where you need to ring up. I rang Vårdcentralen Måsen as it was closest to me. Initially, there is an automated message in Swedish but if you wait until the end, it will tell you what to do in English. The line opened at 8am, I rang by 8:02 and was 22nd in the queue. It then took a bit over an hour to talk to someone, you can leave your number and they will ring you back or wait on the line. By my time to speak to the receptionist, all spaces had been taken up to see the doctor at this practice. The receptionist recommended I go to the out-of-hours service or wait until the next day and go through the process again. I went to the out-of-hours. This is within the hospital grounds, near the University, at Entrégatan 3. It opened at 6pm and I arrived at 5:45 and was 11th in the queue this time. However, there are people having general appointments in addition to out-of-hours, so I was later than 11th to be seen. When I arrived, I had to take a number and speak to the receptionist where you give an overview of what is wrong, and they ask for your ‘person number’. Every Swede has a person number and it can occasionally be a pain not having one as they are used so frequently in many situations, but it is not worth getting one if you are just staying in the country for a year as generally you can get around it. As a result, I would say just make sure you bring ID and proof of being a student at Lund University. As a note, a person number is your date birth as (YYYY-MM-DD), followed by a set of four numbers.

After speaking to the receptionist, I had to wait about an hour and a half. When I got called through, I spoke to a nurse initially who asked for me to explain what was wrong and then asked me some more questions. She then said I was going to need to speak to a doctor to prescribe me some medication and gave me an appointment for about an hour later within the same facility. So, I went back into the waiting room and sat. It took less than an hour for me to be seen by the doctor, probably about 20 minutes. The doctor then checked everything I had said to the nurse was correct and said I needed antibiotics. As it was late by this point, she was able to give me some for that night and the following morning but told me to go to a pharmacist to pick up the full prescription the next day. Again, through all of this there was no issue with me speaking English to the doctor, nurses and receptionists.

To have an appointment with an EHIC card, the cost is 250 SEK (~£21), the price that all Swedish people pay. My experience at the doctor was made more difficult as I had lost my card at the time. This meant I had to pay the full price of the appointment which was about 1400 SEK (~£130). You are also able to claim this back afterwards but have to fill out a form online. I believe you can ring an EHIC helpline if you cannot find/have lost your card before you go to the appointment too and they can send you a certificate or something as a replacement to the EHIC. Although I am not sure how accurate this will be following Brexit.

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