At the doctor’s
When people in Germany need medical advice or treatment, their family doctor’s practice (Hausarztpraxis) is usually their first port of call. In most cases you are free to choose which doctor to see. Read on to find out what you need to know when choosing a doctor, how you can prepare for an appointment, and which medical services are available.
In Germany, general medicine, internal medicine and pediatric medicine offices are also known as “Hausarztpraxen” (family doctor’s practices). If necessary, family doctors may refer you to a “Facharztpraxis” (specialist practice) where the doctors are specialized in another field, such as gynecology, mental illness, or conditions affecting your ears, nose and throat (ENT). It is also possible to see a specialist directly. That applies to visits to a psychotherapist or child psychotherapist as well.
In some cases it can be a good idea to get a second opinion (see what a different doctor says), for instance if your diagnosis isn't clear or you're faced with a difficult decision about treatment options. You have a legal right to an independent second opinion.
Doctors, psychotherapists and people working in doctors’ practices must respect doctor-patient confidentiality. In other words, they're not allowed to share information about you with anyone else – not even your family members – without your permission.