Should you go to the emergency department?

Answers to frequently asked questions when you are about to go to the emergency department.

What does urgent care mean?

Urgent care means the immediate assessment and care in the case of a sudden illness, injury, or when a long-term condition or functional capacity suddenly takes a turn for the worse and assessment and care cannot be postponed without the illness or injury becoming worse. Urgent care is available to everyone 24/7.

To read more about healthcare services available 24/7 in your area, visit the website of your local authorities.

Can I book a doctor’s appointment in advance?

Usually, appointments cannot be booked in the emergency departments. Check from your local authority’s website for instructions for your area.

Is there is a direct phone number to the emergency department?

Not necessarily. Usually, you are advised to call the Medical Helpline.

Check from your local authority’s website for instructions for your area.

Why does it take so long to get through to an emergency department by phone?

Emergency departments don’t usually operate a phone service. It is the job of the staff to concentrate on treating patients in person. If the emergency department is busy, the staff may not have the time to answer the phone. The staff also deal with the advance communications with ambulances and helicopter ambulances by phone.

See your local authority’s website for the contact details of the Medical Helpline.

Do you need a referral to come to the emergency department?

No referral is needed for patients to use the services of urgent care services at health centres or emergency departments.

What are the opening hours of the emergency departments?

Your home municipality has a designated healthcare provider offering 24/7 services. See your local authority’s website for details of how the 24/7 services are organised in your area.

Can I get repeat prescriptions or medical certificates for, for example, a driving licence?

Emergency departments do not issue renewal prescriptions. Nowadays, electronic prescriptions are renewed by your own health centre or your occupational health physician, or you can also request repeat prescriptions through

The only certificate issued by emergency departments is the so-called A-certificate for sickness leave based on the condition treated at the emergency depatment. The A-certificate is required to prove your inability to work with short-term illnesses. If your condition is long-term, your sick leave is usually determined by your local health centre, occupational health physician or the place of further treatment such as a clinic provided specialised care. The emergency departments do not extend sickness leaves over the phone.

How much does it cost to visit the emergency department?

The patient fee varies depending on the unit. The fee is usually higher during the night, weekends and public holidays. Note that nurse’s consultations also may be subject to a fee.

Emergency departments within specialised care charge a patient fee regardless of whether the annual health centre fee cap has been reached. Patient fees are not charged from patients under the age of 18, war veterans and war invalids, or if the patient has reached their annual payment gap in client charges in healthcare and social welfare. For more information about payment cap (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health).

Medical certificates issued by the emergency departments is free when it is to do with the patient’s treatment.

The patient fee does not have to be paid upfront. You will be sent an invoice afterwards. Emergency departments do not accept cash payments.

Unpaid patient fees are directly distrainable without a court order.

For more information about patient fees and other healthcare charges, visit your local authority’s website.

Is there free parking near the emergency department?

Parking is usually limited near emergency departments. Detailed instructions regarding parking and parking fees are available on your local authority’s website.

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Updated  1.5.2021