Access to healthcare in Denmark

The Right to Access Healthcare in Denmark as an EU/EEA Citizen The fundamental principle of EU cooperation is the right to purchase goods and services freely among EU states.

As a citizen of an EU/EEA state, you may be eligible for reimbursement from your public health insurance when receiving healthcare in another EU/EEA state, different from your state of residence.

Rules regarding the right to apply for or purchase public and private healthcare in Denmark do not affect your entitlement to receive necessary public healthcare in Denmark if you fall ill or are injured during your stay in the country.

Accessing Healthcare in Denmark

If you are covered by a public health insurance scheme in another EU/EEA state, you have the right to access public healthcare services in Denmark.

To avail of these services, you might be asked to provide documentation of your public health insurance cover, typically by presenting your European Health Insurance Card.

Hospital Treatment in Denmark

Public hospitals in Denmark offer treatment, but it requires a referral from a doctor/general practitioner (GP) before they can decide on examination or treatment at the hospital. Referrals can also be issued by other licensed health professionals and authorities. Further information can be found on the websites of various regional authorities.

Denmark has five regional councils operating its public hospitals. You can locate these hospitals on the websites of the respective regional authorities:

Region Nordjylland (North Denmark Region)

Region Midtjylland (Central Denmark Region)

Region Syddanmark (Region of Southern Denmark)

Region Hovedstaden (Capital Region of Denmark)

Region Sjælland (Region Zealand)

The regional authorities are obliged to provide you with the date and place of your examination or treatment within eight weekdays after receiving your referral for hospital examination/treatment.

If, due to limited capacity, a hospital cannot accept you immediately, causing postponement for other patients, the regional authorities must inform you within the same time limit.

Regarding payments for examination/treatment, the regional authorities will request the same fees as they would from patients covered by Danish health insurance. However, if you require an interpreter during your examination, the regional authorities may ask you to cover the interpreter's costs.

You will receive information about the payment for your examination and treatment before arriving at the hospital. The payment will be calculated and requested either during or shortly after your examination and treatment at the hospital.

The regional authorities may also ask for a deposit or guarantee of payment in advance.

Visit the region's website to check if access to certain types of treatment at the hospital is temporarily closed due to capacity constraints. 

Information on waiting times for treatment in public hospitals in Denmark (only in Danish)

Treatment in Private Hospitals or Clinics in Denmark

Private hospitals in Denmark offer treatment in various locations. You can find information about the types of treatment available in different hospitals on the Internet.

Additionally, several licensed Danish health professionals, such as GPs, specialists, dentists, physiotherapists, and chiropractors, offer examination and treatment in the private sector.

To access private healthcare services, you'll need to contact the individual health professional and inquire if they can accept you for examination and treatment. Don't forget to ask about the terms, including payment.

Private hospitals and health professionals are required to offer you examination and treatment at the same price and terms applicable to Danish patients in similar health situations.

Other Public Healthcare Services in Denmark

Danish regions and municipalities offer various public healthcare services that require payment. Examples include:

  • General dental care for children and young adults up to the age of 22 or specialized (regional) dental care for children and young adults with dental issues (dental disease).
  • Nursing care at home (with a doctor/GP referral).
  • Municipal physiotherapy (with a doctor/GP referral).
  • Rehabilitation after hospital discharge, if a doctor determines it necessary.
  • Municipal alcohol treatment conducted by licensed health professionals.
  • Medical treatment for substance abuse.

Access to regional or municipal healthcare services may be limited due to capacity constraints, such as long waiting lists that would disrupt other patients' care.

Check the region's or municipality's website to see if access to the specific health services you require is temporarily closed due to capacity limitations.

To obtain further information about the services and the possibility of receiving examination and treatment for yourself or your child, you need to contact the regional or municipal authorities.

What is the cost of my treatment?

The regional or municipal authorities charge the same amount for your or your child's treatment as they would for a person covered by Danish health insurance.

However, if an interpreter is needed during your or your child's treatment, the regional or municipal authorities may request payment for the interpreter's costs. You will be informed of the treatment price or the criteria used to calculate the price before your treatment begins.

Payment will be calculated and charged either during or immediately after you receive the treatment. You may be asked to pay a deposit or provide a payment guarantee in advance.

Do I need a referral?

Yes, if you want treatment in a public hospital or require another public healthcare service in Denmark that requires a referral from a doctor/GP or a dentist, you need a referral from a doctor/GP or dentist in your country of residence or another EU/EEA state.

In certain circumstances, licensed health professionals and authorities other than doctors/GPs or dentists may issue referrals for hospital treatment. You can find further information on the websites of the individual regions.

In some cases, specific requirements apply for referrals. For example, a specialist in a particular area may be required to issue the referral. Contact the regional authorities to inquire if the treatment you are seeking requires a special referral.

How can I verify if a health professional is registered (licensed) in Denmark?

The public register maintained by the Danish Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed) contains information about all registered health professionals in Denmark. You can access the register to check if the health professional you are interested in is registered and whether they are under intensified supervision.

Online register - registered health professionals

Purchasing medicines in Denmark

Prescription medicines and certain over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can only be obtained from a pharmacy. Other types of OTC medicines, natural medicine, and vitamin and mineral products can be purchased from various vendors such as supermarkets, chemists, and kiosks.

Purchasing medicines in Denmark

Where can I file a complaint about my treatment?

If you have experienced errors or mistreatment in a public hospital, private hospital, from a doctor, or another therapist within the Danish healthcare system, you can submit a complaint to the Danish Agency for Patient Complaints (Styrelsen for Patientklager). You can also file a complaint about lack of information, lack of consent, and breach of confidentiality.

Rights to complain

Where can I apply for compensation for mistreatment?

If you believe you have been injured as a result of treatment received at a public hospital, from a doctor/GP, or from other health professionals in the private sector, you must report your injury to The Patient Insurance Association (Patienterstatningen).

Patienterstatningen will determine if you are eligible for compensation. They also handle compensation cases related to rare and serious adverse effects of medicines.

If you disagree with a decision made by Patienterstatningen, you can file a complaint about the decision to the Danish Agency for Patient Complaints (Styrelsen for Patientklager). The Patient Injury Appeals Board (Ankenævnet for Patienterstatningen) will then review the issue and make a decision. 

The Patient Injury Appeals Board (Ankenævnet for Patienterstatningen)

Where can I find patient information?

You can obtain various types of information regarding your access to public healthcare in Denmark, your rights as a patient in Denmark, and the general quality standards of patient treatment in Denmark by contacting a patient adviser in the Danish region where you intend to receive treatment.

The patient adviser can assist you with the following:

  • Verifying if a specific health professional is registered (licensed) in Denmark
  • Finding information about disabled access to a hospital
  • Assisting you and your health insurance provider in interpreting the Danish invoice you have received.