In Germany both general practitioners and specialists are available to provide medical treatment. As a person insured with the AOK, you may select your doctor freely. Under the condition that this doctor is licensed to provide medical care as part of a statutory health care insurance. Unlike in Britain, you don’t have to stay with one GP. Instead, you can consult different GPS and specialists depending on the nature of your problem. However, Germany does not have walk-in clinics where you can get minor ailments treated by medical staff less qualified than doctors without having to make an appointment. Unlike in the UK, in Germany you cannot make appointments and order drug prescriptions online from GPs and specialists.
Your first contact point for medical issues: Your family doctor or GP. A family doctor is a general practitioner. He will select the necessary medical treatment that promises the greatest success. Like in Britain, your GP will transfer you to a specialist if he or she thinks this is necessary. And the AOK takes care of the costs. However, unlike in Britain, you can also make direct contact with a specialist – a doctor who has undergone a recognised course of advanced training in a specific area, such as orthopaedics, gynaecology or dermatology. The AOK also takes care of these costs. The important thing is to take your AOK health card with you on every visit to the doctor.
Generally, we would recommend you to arrange an appointment with the surgery by telephone before going to the doctor’s. This way you can avoid unnecessary waiting times. Should it be an emergency, you can under certain circumstances be treated immediately in a hospital as an outpatient.