Primary health care

Primary health care is a set of ambulatory services for the most common health problems available to people based on their work, school or place of residence. Primary health care is provided by family doctors together with family nurses and other supporting specialists.

Primary health care is organised by the Health Board, who ensures its consistent functioning, effectivity, and the use of human resources.

In case of a health concern, a person’s first contact with the health system is a family doctor or family nurse.

Outside the office hours of a family doctor, a person can call the family doctor’s advice line at 1220.

By calling the advice line, people can get help for minor health problems, instructions for first aid, and if necessary, answers to questions about the organisation of health care.

All residents have the right to choose their family doctors. In case a person does not do that, they are appointed a family doctor by the Health Board based on their permanent residence. In case a person is not satisfied with their family doctor or in case of change or residence, a person may change family doctor.

Since 3 March 2017, newborns are automatically added to the list of the family doctor of their mother. Hence, it is not necessary to submit a separate application to have a newborn added to the list of a family doctor. In case a person does not want to add their child to the list of their family doctor, an application must be submitted; further information is available on the website of the Health Board.

The replacement system of family doctors and family nurses is organised by the Health Board. The aim of this is to ensure the availability of general medical care in case a family doctor has not been found by way of competition for people in a practice list without a family doctor. Information about the terms and conditions of participating in the replacement system and the replacement fee is provided by the Health Board.

 

Replacement system of family doctors
 

The replacement system of family doctors and family nurses is organised by the Health Board. The aim of this is to ensure the availability of general medical care in case a family doctor has not been found by way of an open call for people in a practice list without a family doctor.

Health centres
 

In the coming years, the European Regional Development Fund will support the construction and renovation of primary health centres in Estonia. The aim of establishing health centres is to strengthen primary health care and expand opportunities for family doctors and family nurses to solve health problems. See a video introducing the health centres.

 

Medical certificates
 

A medical certificate is a document drawn up by the person who carries out a medical examination which attests the compliance of the state of health of the applicant with the medical requirements established for the intended use. Depending on the intended use, the medical certificate is issued in an electronic or paper form.

A medical certificate is issued on the basis of the health records of the applicant of the medical certificate and the declaration of health filled in by the applicant.

A medical certificate is necessary for obtaining different permits or authorisations to work in certain occupations, to start studying, to be active in certain areas of activity, etc.

A medical examination is an examination of a person to evaluate their health condition. A medical examination is carried out by an occupational doctor, a family doctor or a traffic medicine commission, who will refer the person to a medical specialist for further examination, if necessary.

Last updated: 13 July 2017