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Two people enjoy a picnic in a park in Stockholm

Photo: Tove Freij

Categories: Your life in Stockholm

Healthcare in Sweden

Publish date: 22 March 2024

Navigating an unfamiliar healthcare system can be one of the hardest parts of living abroad. To help, we've pulled together this short guide that covers everything from your rights as a patient in Sweden to the availability of interpreters and the cost of appointments.

Emergency, primary and specialist care

Everyone in Sweden is entitled to emergency care. EU citizens with a European Health Insurance Card have the right to emergency care at the same subsidised cost as Swedish residents, while citizens from non-EU countries are responsible for the full cost.

Consequently, citizens of non-EU countries are strongly advised to take out comprehensive health insurance from their home countries to cover any initial costs before being registered as residents. It will be difficult to meet a regular primary care physician before you are registered as a Swedish resident with a personal identity number but you can visit your local hospital’s A&E in case of emergency.

Once you have your personal identity number you can visit doctors at the same cost as Swedish citizens.

Register with a local primary care doctor

Once you have received your personal identity number, you can register with a local primary care doctor. offers advice on choosing a doctor as well as a useful search function (in Swedish) for healthcare facilities near you. Usually, you will register at a local health centre (vårdcentral) where several doctors and nurses practice. Registering usually involves sending a form to the health centre with your personal details, confirming that you would like to register at that centre. You will then be assigned a main primary care doctor.

Once you’ve registered at a health centre, you can call to make an appointment if you fall ill. Some centres even have online booking systems and many health centres also offer walk-in hours.

Seeing a specialist

Generally, your first contact when you fall ill should be your primary care doctor. If you require specialist care, your doctor will send a referral to a specialist, who will contact you with information concerning your appointment.

Healthcare information, fees & interpreters

The official website offers extensive information on healthcare, including general information on your rights as a patient, advice on basic healthcare issues, and help finding the right doctor’s practice close to you. You can also call 1177 from your phone while in Sweden for free healthcare advice.


Most healthcare professionals speak English. However, if you or someone in your family needs an interpreter to communicate with your doctor, this can be arranged free of charge.

Prescription medication

If your doctor prescribes you medication, you can collect your prescription at one of many pharmacies. Prescriptions are often sent electronically so that you can collect your medication from any pharmacy without presenting a paper prescription. If you’re unsure of where to collect your prescription, you can ask at your health centre.

Pharmacists are highly educated and will give you instructions on how to use your prescription medication. You can also ask pharmacists for advice on non-prescription drugs.

Dental Care

Dental care is free of charge for everyone up until the age of 20. Patients over 20 receive a dental care allowance for regular visits to the dentist. As with medical healthcare, you are free to choose your dentist. Use the search function at (in Swedish) to find a dentist.

See the Social Insurance Agency’s guide to dental care in Sweden for guidelines and cost estimates.

A practical guide to smooth your move to Stockholm