While day to day life mostly runs smoothly, sometimes it brings unpleasant surprises that concern our health. It is especially crucial when one tends to overwork themselves or appears to be under a great stress for a long time. Sometimes, accidents that have nothing to do with the person's lifestyle happen, too. All those situations need quick reaction and adequate care — that's why we gathered a guide on how to get medical help in Ukraine.
To start with, the health care system in Ukraine is funded almost entirely by the government. Only a small percent of it is actually covered by the citizens themselves. Thus, the most common health services in Ukraine, such as treatment, hospitalisation, visits to various specialists for diagnosis, tests, childbirth and rehabilitation are payed by the state. However, the quality of the healthcare remains a disputable topic, especially in the smaller towns. Often the free state facilities are poorly equipped, and lack the needed medicines. Highly-trained and professional staff isn't able to carefully listen to and give diagnosis to every patient, as the long queues build up starting from the opening hours of a clinic. The government takes necessary actions to improve the system, but it is a lasting process. Let's see how to get medical services in Ukraine.
It is necessary to mention that medical care in Ukraine is provided in different ways for the foreigners with and without the right of permanent residence. Let's have a look at the general rules in each case. Firstly, to get the permission for temporary residence, a foreigner should present a valid certificate of medical insurance, in other words – a medical insurance policy. In order to obtain a health insurance, it is possible to apply to any Ukrainian insurance company which provides the said service — all the future expenses, including emergency medical services in Ukraine, will be provided by them. Settlement of the payment should be also executed by a company which is aimed strictly on coordinating a medical care provision. In this case, such company should be listed in the insurance contract. In order to pay for the services, foreigners shall use only national currency – Hryvnia – and settle the payment via bank account or cash.
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As for the foreigners who reside permanently on the territory of Ukraine, like the citizens they obtain the right for free and timely medical help, including emergency services. This right is guaranteed by the Constitution and should be executed freely. The most common place to get medical help in Ukraine are state hospitals or ambulances. Those are visited by the locals in cases that are harder than a regular cold. Sometimes, ambulance can come to the patient's house and provide the needed help, such as anti-flu shots or medicine for high blood pressure, without further hospitalization. If the case is serious, it is insisted that the person is hospitalized.
State hospitals usually give two options for the in-patients – staying in the ordinary ward with facilities on the floor, usually shared with 3 or more people, or the 'commercial' one, made specifically for no more than two people, with facilities inside. The cost of such medical service in Ukraine depends on several factors: location, institution status, course of treatment and comfort. The lowest may vary from UAH 300 per day, climbing up to several thousands in the top clinics with 24/7 patient care and most comfortable conditions.
Another option of getting medical services in Ukraine is private, or commercial hospitals. They can be found in large cities and be of two types: general hospital, which combines departments of in-patient care, various specialists' offices, emergency unit and test laboratories, and the specialized hospitals, that manage specific branch – for instance, ophthalmology, heart and plastic surgery, psychiatry. Level of comfort and service in both is usually much higher than the one in state hospitals: on-the-clock patient care, built-in facilities, English-speaking staff and doctors ensure to provide the best treatment possible. Naturally, big cities in Ukraine, like Kyiv or Lviv are better equipped with the cutting-edge technology, as well as necessary instruments for the lab tests, that's why the cost of medical care in such facilities can vary. Many locals travel to the other cities to get the needed treatment with the renown doctors and specialists, so it is also necessary to check the available appointment date and time.
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Another crucial point worth mentioning is how to get emergency medical services in Ukraine. Foreigners in Ukraine are provided with such type of care within their insurance policy. Likewise with getting usual doctor's care, there are options of applying to state and private ambulances. Public medical ambulance is compensated by medical emergency insurance for foreigners, therefore it is free of charge. Sometimes, though, it is necessary to buy additional medicine recommended by the emergency care assistance or paramedics for the further care. For instance, if the patient is no longer in danger and decides to skip the hospitalizations, meds to prevent the possible relapse can be prescribed. As for the private emergency, if the hospital giving the services isn't listed on the insurance company compensations, it can be quite expensive.
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The cost of emergency medical help varies in Ukraine – thus, in Kyiv emergency calls can vary from UAH 600 to 1000 depending on the clinic. Those are, however, extremely timely and often relied upon in serious emergencies. It is necessary to mention that there is no single hotline for medical emergency like 911 in Ukraine. The phone numbers to keep close and remember are the following:
Fire brigade – 101
Police – 102
Ambulance – 103
Note that the operators generally don't understand conversational English, so it is better to have a translator or a friend who can speak for the patient. As a rule, it takes up to 20 minutes for the ambulance to reach the patient's place in the cities.
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