Travel to Iceland

30/04/2013 -- Admin
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Volcanoes, Vikings, Reykjavík, ice caves, boiling mudpots, mountains, glaciers, lava fields, Blue Lagoon spa waters, Hallgrimskirkja Church, geysers, whale watching, snow mobiling, Thingvellir National Park, bird watching, skyr yogurt, horse riding, hiking, Brennivín (Black Death) schnapps, midnight sun, Aurora Borealis, salmon fishing, Gullfoss Waterfall,  smoked lamb, knitwear, ice climbing, Geysir Springs, caving, diving, camping, mountain biking…

Medical and Health

The UK has a health agreement with Iceland so take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you on holiday.  It’ll cover some - not all - medical treatment costs if you fall sick or are injured during your stay.

Documents needed:  EHIC and passport

Doctors and Dentists

Doctors:  Except for remote areas, doctors are available in healthcare clinics all over Iceland and in every neighbourhood in the capital city, Reykjavik, home to over 60% of the population.

There’s a fixed fee for each consultation and any extra services (eg, blood tests, x-rays).

If you use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), expect to pay 1,000 ISK (around £5.30) to see a doctor before 4pm and 2,600 ISK after that (£14 or so). Treatment is free for under 18s, half price for over 65s.

Without an EU medical card (the old E111 Form), prices rise to 6,200 ISK (£33) and 9200 ISK (£49).  Big difference.

Dentists:  Dental services are available at health centres and private practices. Only essential emergency dental treatment is free with the EHIC. Some costs are refundable for patients under 18 and over 66.

Hospital Treatment and Ambulance Costs

You can get prompt treatment for cuts and bruises at emergency centres in most health clinics. Unless it’s a real emergency (eg heart attack) only doctors can admit patients to hospital. 

For serious cases, go straight to the nearest hospital.  Generally there is no charge for in-patient treatment or medicines using the EHIC.  You’ll pay around 4,000 ISK (£21) for outpatient treatment

Ambulance:  There’s a fixed charge for transport, usually 15% of the cost with the EHIC, otherwise you pay full price.  

The Icelandic air ambulance service gets around 600 call-outs a year, mostly from tourists which includes winter sports accidents.  Even with the EHIC, costs could be crippling, so comprehensive travel insurance is vital, especially for medical emergency expenses.

Not only can getting too close to volcanoes and hot springs endanger your health, volcanic ash could mean you have to cancel or curtail your trip – check your travel insurance policy to make sure you’re covered.

Prescriptions

Medicines are available from pharmacies (apotek).  Most drugs for pre-existing medical conditions (eg heart problems, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes) are readily available.

Prescriptions must be countersigned by an Icelandic doctor and presented with the EHIC to benefit from subsidised prices.

Unless the doctor advises otherwise, ask the pharmacist for the generic, not the original, medicine - much cheaper and just as effective.