The public healthcare system of Denmark operates across three levels: state, regions and municipalities. Publicly financed healthcare covers all primary, specialist, hospital and preventive care, mental health care, long-term care services and dental services for children under age 18. Under state supervision, the five regions are primarily responsible for hospitals, general practitioners and psychiatric care whereas municipalities are responsible for a number of primary healthcare services and elderly care.
Due to the high standard of public healthcare, only a small number of private healthcare services exists.
You are entitled to medically necessary treatment, when you are temporarily staying in Denmark. Medically necessary treatment usually refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay. You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not required in the Nordic countries from people who are covered by the Finnish social security system. Therefore, showing your valid identity card and stating your current address is usually sufficient for receiving treatment in Denmark. An identity card can be a passport, an identity card issued by the police or a driver’s licence.
Treatment covered by public healthcare is usually free of charge. If you did not have an identity card when seeking treatment and had to pay full price, you can apply for reimbursement retrospectively by contacting the local social services and healthcare (social og sundhed) service point before leaving Denmark. In order to receive reimbursement, you need to present all the original receipts and your identity card or Kela Card. Alternatively you can apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
Information on healthcare is available from the Danish Ministry of Health (Sundheds- og Ældreministeriet). Practical information in Danish is also available in the healthcare system portal Sundhed.dk. The citizens’ information service (lifeindenmark.borger.dk) offers information both in Danish and in English.
You can see a general practitioner (GP) who has an agreement with Denmark’s public healthcare. Nearly all GPs are self-employed and paid by the regions. The practices are usually open on weekdays between 8:00 and 16:00. Some practices are also open on one evening of the week. You can see a specialist after receiving a referral from a general practitioner. Showing your identity card will entitle you to free treatment by both general practitioners and specialists. If you require an interpreter, mention this when making a reservation and one can be provided for you. You may have to pay for the interpreter.
A general practitioner can provide you with a referral to a specialist. A referral is not required for treatment with an otorhinolaryngologist or an ophthalmologist.
During urgent attacks of illness that occur after 16:00 on weekdays, you can see an on-duty doctor (lægevagt). Lægevagten’s website contains contact information for the on-duty doctors. Laegevagten in the capital area is Akuttelefonen 1813.
You can see a dentist who has an agreement with public healthcare. Show your identity card at the practice. Reimbursement is available for specific standard treatments and it will be deducted directly from the dentist’s invoice. Please note, however, that some procedures (such as prosthetic teeth or crowns) are not reimbursed at all. Dental care is free in Denmark for patients under the age of 18, and patients under the age of 26 receive a higher amount of reimbursement than older patients.
The amount of reimbursement for prescribed medication depends on which medication have been prescribed to you and the amount of money that you have spent on medication over the calendar year. Show your identity card and prescription at the pharmacy.
If necessary, a doctor will provide you with a referral for free hospital treatment. In case of emergency, you can go directly to the first aid of a public hospital (”skadestuen”, ”Akutklinik” or ”Akutmodtagelse”) which treats acute injuries from the past 24 hours or illnesses that started during the same time period. In such a case, show your identity card and request that the hospital provide you with free treatment. Most Danish hospitals have a first aid station, but there are some hospitals that have no walk-in clinics. Please also note that the first-aid clinics of some hospitals require advance notification by phone before arrival.
Urgent ambulance transport to the nearest hospital is free.
Returning to Finland (specific to the Nordic countries)
If your illness requires you to use a more expensive means of travel than normal when returning to Finland (such as a type of special transport), you are entitled to receive reimbursement from Denmark. The reimbursement will cover the share of your travel costs that was caused by the more expensive means of travel. In other words, you will pay the same price for the return trip as you would have done when using your normal means of travel (when fully healthy). The prerequisite for the reimbursement is that you receive a doctor’s certificate from Denmark before your return trip, and that it indicates why the more expensive means of travel is required.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you wish to travel to Denmark for the purpose of using healthcare services you can find general information on seeking treatment abroad on our site. Some useful websites concerning seeking treatment in Denmark are listed below.
The website of the National Contact Point of Denmark contains information on seeking treatment in Denmark. The website also has contact information of the patient advisors in each of the five regions in Denmark. You should direct your questions about healthcare in Denmark to the Danish National Contact Point.
Most of the general practitioners, specialists and dentists provide treatment for public insured patients in Denmark according to regional agreements. However, they will also accept private patients who pay for the treatment themselves. More information concerning the healthcare professionals in a specific municipality or region is available on the website sundhed.dk. The site is available in Danish.
The prices in Danish public hospitals are usually fixed (also known as DRG prices) and they are the same in all hospitals. Price information can be found (in Danish) on the website of the Danish Health Data Authority (Sundhedsdatastyrelsen).
Quality and safety of treatment
The website of the public authority for patient safety (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed), includes information about all health care professionals registered in Denmark. In the register you can check if a certain doctor or other health care professional has a valid registration and whether he or she is for example under supervision.
On the website of the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen), you can find information about the clinical guidelines for treatments.
If you have received erroneous or deficient treatment at a Danish public or private hospital, clinic or other place of treatment, you can file a complaint with the Danish Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed). You can report malpractices and other detriments related to treatment to the Danish patient insurance centre Patient Compensation Association (Patienterstatningen).
The Danish Institute for Quality and Accreditation in Healthcare (Institut for Kvalitet og Akkreditering i Sundhedsvæsenet, IKAS) maintains and develops the Danish Healthcare Quality Programme (Den Danske Kvalitetsmodel, DDKM). The DDKM sets the quality standards for accreditation in healthcare and develops methods for measuring and supervising quality. More information is available on IKAS’s website.