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Medical Procedures in Iceland
The main building of the Landspítali National University Hospital in Reykjavík. Photo: Sverrir H. Geirmundsson.
Q: I have outpatient periodontal surgery scheduled in Reykjavík in September. I am interested in having some other routine procedures while I am off work and will have leisure time to spend being poked and prodded. I believe what I will require is an appointment with a doctor who can authorize a mammogram, colonoscopy, etc. I’m not even sure that is how it works in Iceland, is there a medical advocate or possibly an employee at a hospital who can answer my questions?
Thank you for any input,
A: There is no designated person at the Landspítali National University Hospital or the Directorate of Health who you can contact with an inquiry of this sort. Each neighborhood in Iceland has a designated healthcare center, and people registered as living within its boundaries are the only ones who can use their services. There are additionally about a dozen independent general practitioners in Reykjavík, but they usually only meet with patients registered to their practice. You could attempt to contact a private practice to see if one would give you an appointment, but know that that is not their policy.
You could also attempt to contact Læknavaktin, a shift of state-employed doctors who are available on an as-needed basis, after hours (5 pm-12 am). Their number is 1770, but booking an appointment far in advance with them is not possible. The waiting time for the kind of routine appointments you describe is usually long, so depending on how long your stay will be, a referral from them would not necessarily fit within your schedule. You could also contact the healthcare center of the area you will be staying in, but whether or not they give you an appointment is at their discretion. Also be aware of the fact that these appointments will be costly, as you will presumably not be covered by the national insurance plan.