English-speaking doctors and the German healthcare system


If you do not already know German, you could be the most driven of students….optimistic, hard-working, determined, and yet when suddenly you need to see a doctor, it seems to go out the window.  I would recommend that you plan early for a range of doctors whom you can communicate with in your own language, before you need them.  We’ve had the scary experience of needing sudden medical care, and not being able to communicate with the doctors to tell them what is wrong, what your history is, and they can’t communicate with you either.  This inevitably leads to unnecessary procedures and unnecessary expense of time and money.  In my opinion, the doctor’s office isn’t a preferrable place to be learning German by immersion.

To see a doctor you will pay 10 euros per quarter. When you pay your money they will give you a pink receipt.  Keep it- if you go to the doctor again in the next few months you will need to show it to them to not have to pay again.  If you need to see a specialist, you will generally need to get a referral from your general medicine doctor.

Here are a few personal recommendations for English-speaking doctors in Bielefeld.  I have only listed people I have personally gone to and had a good experience.

Dr. med. Friedrich Hartog/ Christine Gass – Gynocology, Obstetrics (Frauenheilkunde und Geburtshilfe)

Kiskerstr. 15, 33615 Bielefeld                 Phone: 0521 9643228

Both doctors speak English, but not all of the receptionists do.

Dr. med. Peter Braunstein – Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist (Hals-, Nasen-, Ohrenheilkunde)

Jahnplatz 10, 33602 Bielefeld                 Phone: 0521 5217151

Very caring doctor, and made time for us on very short notice.  Quickly diagnosed and fixed a serious problem two other doctors failed to properly diagnose.

Dr. med. Andreas Kühle – General Medicine, and Allergy Specialist (Allgemeinmedizin/Allergologie)

Wertherstr. 444, 33619 Bielefeld             Phone: 0521 101542

This doctor and his receptionist are great, and I have never had to wait for an appointment…he usually gets me in the next day.

http://www.kvwl.de/earzt   This website allows you to search for a doctor in the entire Westfalen-Lippe area.  You can enter search criteria, including the type of doctor, your address, and your preferred language.  You should always confirm that the doctor takes your insurance before making an appointment.


Health and beauty


It took me time to get used to the health system in Germany and find professionals with whom I felt comfortable. I also struggled finding beauty or health products I was used to. So today I thought I will share some addresses and products I have used since I arrived in Bielefeld.

Health / Address:

  • Generalist: I highly recommend the office of Dr. Speitel in the Altstadt. The cabinet has a walk-in service every morning of the week from 9am to 12am and in the afternoon (Mo. 5pm-7pm, Tu.-Th. and Fr. 4pm-6pm). So basically you just show up and they will tell you how long you have to wait before seeing the doctor. And if you want to run some errands during the waiting time, they will just call you on your mobile phone when your turn is coming (in the next 15min). I was there twice and didn’t need to wait more than 10min but I love the flexibility it gives me. Note: for blood tests, etc. you need to make an appointment.
  • Gynecologist: I go to Dr. med. Anke Sklenarz. It is located near the university and easily reachable with S Bahn (line 4).
  • Pharmacy: I go to the Bahnhof Apotheke at Karstadt as they give good advices and have some beauty products I use. I also have their fidelity card.

Health / Product:

  • Flu: Here are 2 products which, taken together, have helped me a lot this winter:

  • Magnesium: I take this to avoid cramp during sport or menstruation. It takes effect very fast (within the next 30min) and you just take it when you need it.

  • Yeast infection: I use the soap (below) on a regular basis and when I have a little discomfort, I use this (magic) cream:

All these products can be found at the Bahnhof Apotheke without prescription.

Beauty / Address:

  • Hair: I go to Creativ Team near Babenhausen Süd. It is also easily reachable with S Bahn (line 3). Unfortunately I don’t think they speak English. My hairdresser is Sylvana. I ususally just ask for a cut (25 €) and I dry my hair myself. This  saves me some money and also I can see directly how good it looks without a professional- impossible-to-reproduce-at-home brushing.
  • Waxing: Wax in the City also has a walk-in service. If possible don’t arrive there after 5pm or on Saturday as they may not be able to take you.
  • Massage: I like this traditional thai massage place.

Beauty / Product:

  • Skin: Dr. Hauschka products are great natural products but you won’t find them everywhere. One place to look is the Bahnhof Apotheke.

  • Hand sanitizer can’t be found easily either and aren’t commonly used but I found some at Rossmann near Jahnplatz.
  • Other beauty products: I usually buy everything at Rossmann.