Healthcare and medical care
Public healthcare has developed considerably in recent years, but it is not up to Finnish standards everywhere and English is rarely spoken. High-quality private services are available in the largest cities (such as Ankara, Antalya and Istanbul) and in the holiday resorts. Doctors in the private sector have usually been trained abroad. In an emergency, you can contact any hospital. The countryside has a limited number of healthcare services.
Private hospitals or even university hospitals in Turkey do not necessarily correspond to our view of the western standard of care. It may be difficult for family members to contact the hospital from Finland, and the presence of a family member at the patient’s bedside often improves the level of care. Few doctors and very few nurses speak English. It is recommended to use an interpreter when seeing a doctor or going to a hospital, if possible. When travelling to Turkey, you must take out comprehensive travel insurance. Even though healthcare is cheaper than in most European countries, the treatment fees will be high in severe cases. Nowadays most of the private doctors accept payment with card, but payment in cash beforehand might still be required in some places. The holiday resorts have clinics that accept travel insurance cards and provide service in English. You can also invite a private doctor to the hotel in some holiday resorts.
If you are health insured in Finland, and have received treatment in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland on account of a sudden illness, worsening of a chronic condition, pregnancy or childbirth, you can apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively. You are entitled for the same reimbursement that you would have received if you had been treated in the private healthcare system in Finland. Please note that the reimbursement usually covers only a small part of the costs of the treatment. Thus, taking out a comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended.
According to Turkish law, a person will be treated free of charge if first aid is needed because of a road accident. This applies to tourists as well.
Turkey has both private and public ambulances. Ambulances ordered via the public emergency number (112) are always public, but those ordered through private hospitals are not. If you require an ambulance, please check if your travel insurance covers the use of a private ambulance.
Turkish ministry of health has developed a mobile application called “112 Acil Yardim Butonu”. With the app, you can communicate your location quickly and easily to the Emergency response centre.
Dental care is usually reasonably priced, but the standard of the clinics varies greatly. Travel insurance will usually only cover immediate dental care.
Non-prescription medicines are not sold in grocery stores. However, there are several pharmacies (eczane) in the country. Private hospitals usually have pharmacies. Pharmacies can sell medicines for simple illnesses without a prescription. The personnel will also refer the customer to a doctor if necessary. Medicine prices are regulated and usually reasonable. Pharmacies are commonly open from Monday to Friday between 9 am and 7:30 pm. On Saturdays, many of the pharmacies close earlier, around 1 pm. Most pharmacies are usually closed on Sundays. However, each area has one pharmacy that is open every day, around the clock. You can find the contact information for the on-duty pharmacy on the doors of the pharmacies.