How to choose or change family physician
- All Estonian citizens and foreigners legally residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit / right of residence have to be entered into the registry of a family physician. Everyone has the right to choose or change their family physician. It is also obligatory to choose a family physician when a child is born. Usually the need to change a family physician arises when change in place of residence occurs.
- To register with or change your family physician you must submit a signed application ("Avaldus perearsti nimistusse registreerimiseks") either in person, by mail or e-mail. The application form is available on Estonian Health Board´s and Estonian Health Insurance Fund´s homepage. Applications must be submitted for each person separately. To sign up with a General Practitioner you have to fill out and submit an application in Estonian language (DOC). Here is the translated specimen in English (PDF)
- The application will be reviewed within 7 working days, after which the selected family physician will let the applicant know if they are accepted to the physician’s directory. A family physician may decline applicants request if their directory is full or if the applicant doesn’t live in the doctor’s service area according to the Estonian Population Register, in which case another family physician must be selected. Personal Estonian Population Register data can be accessed, viewed and changed through the Estonian State Portal. When a new family physician has been chosen, it is recommended to present an abstract of his/her previous medical records upon first appointment. In Estonia, persons medical record can be obtained from their family physician either electronically or in printed form, which is free of charge (after 20th printed page a fee of 0,19€ applies for each following page).
- A family physician has a directory usually the size of 1200-2000 or 2001-2400 patients in case of the practice having another qualified doctor accompanying the family physician. All family physicians have their own specific medical service providing areas, which are usually comprised of local government units. Larger areas such as Tallinn usually are divided on basis of streets and city districts, some areas are covered the whole Tallinn. Information on family physicians directories, their size and service areas can be accessed through Estonian Health Boards registry (in Estonian).
- In cases of unexpected or minor health issues you can also contact the Estonian family physicians statewide advisory line by dialling 1220. The service is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but assistance is provided in Estonian and Russian. When calling from a stationary telephone (landline) then first 5 minutes are free of charge, otherwise standard rates apply. Calls made from a cellphone are charged at standard service provider rates.