When You’re Sick…: The Experience in Seeking Medical Care in Sweden

The first wealth is health.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe nobody ever wants to get sick, especially not when one’s living far away from home. But sometimes things happen, and bam…! You’re sick 😦 However, the first thing to do in this situation is, I believe, not to be panic. This page from Study in Sweden web might be a good starting point to understand how Swedish healthcare system works and how you might be able to seek help. Depending on your situation, you might need to seek for emergency or non-emergency care. My experience here is applied when you’re looking for non-emergency care.

As you might have known already, international students (non-EU/EEA citizens) with residence permit for 1 year or more can apply for Swedish personal number. With this personal number, you can register yourself at 1177.se. Once you have made an account, you can do the following steps to make an appointment for non-emergency medical care:

Steps to book an appointment at a primary health care center for non-emergency care through the website. Sorry for the bad editing
Steps to book an appointment at a primary health care center for non-emergency care through the website. Sorry for the bad editing ^^’
  1. Choose your own primary health care center, this can be done ever since you make an account at 1177 and you don’t have to wait until you need to seek for help. I chose the one closest to my residence.
  2. Once you have chosen a certain primary health care center, the name will be displayed on your page and you can click on that if you need to make an appointment.
  3. Choose ‘beställ tid’ when you want to make a new appointment.
  4. The steps (4-12) are the information you need to fill in to make an appointment. In step (6), you can choose either to meet a medical doctor (MD) or if you’re not sure whom to meet. In step (7), you can fill in the name of the MD (if you prefer any), and you can choose if it would be OK for you to meet the one other than you prefer in step (8).
  5. In step (9), you can describe your medical conditions. Try to be as detail as possible. It might be good if you refer to this article: Getting ready for a medical appointment – a 10-point checklist.
  6. In step (10) you can mark the time of when you CANNOT come for the appointment.
  7. You can also write other comments in step (11), which I used to inform them that I cannot speak very good Swedish so it would be preferable if I could meet the MD who could speak English XD
  8. Skicka! (Send!) You will be notified when you get the reply through e-mail or SMS with the contact information you have provided in step (12).

I have been given understanding that it might take some time until you get an appointment, depending on which center you’re registered in. In my case, I was placing my request on Thursday, got the reply on Friday, and being placed in an appointment for Monday. So, it was OK for me.

When I first arrived, I had to notify my presence and paid the fee (200 SEK) at the cashier first. Then I went upstairs and waited until the doctor called my name. The waiting room was, I must say, quite pleasant, clean (of course), and bright. It was also full of toys (not that I played with them 😛 )

I didn’t wait for long and the meeting with the doctor was quite pleasant, albeit short. The doctor also prescribed me a medicine, which I could get from any pharmacies I wished. However, when I got out of his office I just realized that I didn’t know which medicine he meant as he didn’t provided me any paper prescription. It took me some time until I figured out that I could see the prescription in my 1177 account (see Läkemedeltjänster). And this was actually completely unnecessary because when I visited the pharmacy and showed my personal number, the pharmacist could already see what I needed on her computer. Wow. Yes, it worked like magic ^^’

If you can’t/don’t want to use the website, you could always call 1177 like what Simon did and they would refer you to the nearest primary health care center. But all in all, I wish that you would never get sick throughout your stay in Sweden! 🙂

Until next time! 🙂


2 thoughts on “When You’re Sick…: The Experience in Seeking Medical Care in Sweden

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