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Emergency medical care

In case of a medical emergency, a trauma or a poisoning, every person on the territory of the Republic of Estonia is entitled to emergency medical care, regardless of whether they have medical insurance or not.

Emergency care

Emergency care is a health care service provided by a health care worker in a situation where postponing or not giving help may cause permanent health damage or the death of the person in need for care. 
All health care workers are obliged to provide emergency care within the limits of their competence and the possibilities available to them.

For receiving emergency medical care, turn to a family physician, the emergency department of a hospital or call an ambulance at 112.

Extra information 

Ambulance services

Ambulance services help people in case of a life-threatening illness, injury or poisoning by providing primary care, by giving diagnoses and by providing instructions for further treatment. If necessary, the ambulance takes the patient to the hospital. Ambulance services work 24/7 and are meant for giving emergency medical care. 

Every person on the territory of the Republic of Estonia has the right to receive emergency medical care, which is free of charge for the patient. For calling an ambulance, dial 112. If you are in doubt whether you need to call an ambulance, you can ask advice from the family physician’s helpline by calling 1220. In case of a poisoning, you can call the poisoning helpline at 16662.

The provision of ambulance services are managed by the Health Board who will determine the number and location of service areas and the distribution of ambulance brigades according to the service areas. For funding ambulance services, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and an ambulance service provider who has won the public competition will sign an agreement for providing the services. 

Health management during crisis

Health management during crisis refers to providing health care services in a state of emergency and in the crisis of national defence. Preparedness for crisis situations is governed by the Health Board, who regularly monitors the drawing up of hospitals’ and emergency brigades’ crisis plans and their readiness to implement the plans. In addition, the Health Board organises the management of contingency stocks and, in every two years, crisis regulation trainings. 

Solving crisis situations in health care is also the responsibility of the Health Board, and it is based on the principle of conservation of tasks. This means that all parties fulfil their tasks in a normal situation every day, and do so also in crisis situations, meaning that hospitals and emergency care brigades offer services also in crisis situations, but the activities are mostly directed towards helping those in critical situation. In a crisis situation, people who are not in a critical situation will be helped primarily by a family physician. 

Last updated: 06.10.2022