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Who is Responsible for Our Health?

  • Our healthcare system is responsible for advising the public on healthy living, treatments and preventative measures. It should also provide necessary medical care and monitor the health of children and expecting mothers. ​
  • However, each adult is responsible for adhering to the advice and recommendation of health authorities. ​
  • Our lifestyle greatly impacts our health and quality of life.​
  • It is easy to access health-related content online. It is advisable to seek out official government websites and content created by experts, such as at and ​​
  • In societies where serious diseases and poverty remain a part of daily life, good health can mean the absence of illness. ​
  • Wherever pharmaceuticals and medical treatment is generally available, many believe that living a good and fulfilling life is what constitutes good health. ​
  • In Iceland, the patient and the physician will often discuss different lines of therapy and the patient has a right to all information pertaining to their medical condition. ​
  • People are not always given a prescription when they go and meet with a physician. Sometimes, other solutions are explored first, such as lifestyle changes.​

The Welfare State and Healthcare

  • In a welfare state, the government's aim is for all its citizens to live the best life possible, including a healthy life. ​
  • The state is responsible for providing citizens with the necessary healthcare without regard to their financial situation. ​
  • Taxes on salaries and economic activity are used, among other things, to fund the healthcare system. ​
  • Individuals will also share in the cost and pay for interviews, checkups, and examinations. However, there is a price ceiling for the monthly copayment of everyone. ​

Obligation of Confidentiality

  • Everyone in the healthcare sector is legally obligated to maintain full confidentiality regarding patients' medical information. This means that no one is permitted to share patient information with a 3rd party without the patient's permission. ​
  • Therefore, the conversations patients have with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals remain confidential. ​
  • Interpreters are also bound by confidentiality concerning the cases they take on as interpreters. (It is reasonable to request confirmation of confidentiality from interpreters).​

 Life Expectancy

  • The people of Iceland generally enjoy a high quality of life. In general, everyone has equal access to healthcare services. ​
  • There are healthcare centers throughout the whole country. Children and adults have access to a wide range of services. ​
  • Landspítalinn University Hospital is a technologically advanced hospital where serious injuries and illnesses are treated.​
  • Healthcare for mothers and infants is robust and free of charge, and Iceland's infant mortality rate is the lowest in Europe. ​
  • Men's average life expectancy is 81 years and women's life expectancy is 84 years. ​

 Healthcare Centers

  • All citizens have the right to be registered with a healthcare center in their area and are allocated a regular general practitioner. ​
  • Healthcare centers can be accessed by displaying an ID and registering on site or by registering online at through "Réttindagátt – mínar síður" (Rights' Portal - My Pages). ​
  • You can change who your general practitioner is. ​
  • The Healthcare centers have standard fees, but the amounts vary according to the Icelandic Health Insurance's copayment system.​
  • The healthcare centers should always be the first stop for people who are experiencing illness or pain. The general practitioner will refer people to a specialist as necessary. ​
  • The healthcare centers offer a range of services:​
    • Healthcare services; interviews, checkups, phone interviews.​
    • Phone consultation with nurses.​
    • Walk-ins for acute illnesses or minor injuries.​
    • Prenatal care.​
    • Infant and childcare.​
    • Vaccinations.​
  • Cont. - Services at health clinics:​
    • Prescriptions, doctor's certificates, referrals.​
    • Cancer screenings for men and women.​
    • Psychological services​
    • Healthcare for school children.​
    • Elderly care.​
    • Courses and education on breastfeeding, parenting, and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.​
  • See, for example, the healthcare web portal for the Greater Reykjavík Area at

 Booking Appointments and Walk-Ins

  • It is necessary to make an appointment with a general practitioner. Either by phone or by booking it on
  • If someone requires an interpreter, then they are required to inform staff of this when the appointment is made and indicate which language is required for interpretation. Staff at the healthcare center will then book an interpreter. ​
  • It is also possible to book phone interviews with physicians. ​
  • Many healthcare centers will offer the possibility of walk-ins during the afternoon shift. ​
  • It is also possible to make the appointment on the day of arrival or to turn up and take a number - it varies from clinic to clinic. ​

 How Much Does it Cost?

  • The health clinics offer services free of charge for children. ​
  • Prenatal care, as well as infant and childcare, is also free of charge. ​
  • There is no patient fee for children, disabled people, or senior citizens, but others are required to share in the cost. ​
  • Doctor's certificates must be paid for. ​
  • The Icelandic Health Insurance operates based on public copay regulations for healthcare services. There is a pay ceiling for an individual's monthly copay. ​

  • The website is a centralised website for all the health clinics. ​
  • There, people can access "mínar síður" (My Pages) by using electronic ID in order to:​
    • Renew prescriptions and request prescription drugs.​
    • Make an appointment with a physician.​
    • Request a doctor's certificate and exams.​
    • Request a Covid-19 sample. ​
    • View test findings. ​
  • The website also has a great deal of information about child development and evidence-based parenting methods. ​
  • It also contains information and advice on a range of healthcare topics for all ages. ​

 Right to an Interpreter

  • Laws on patients' rights dictate that a patient who does not speak Icelandic, has the right to request interpreting services for information that relates to their health, prospective treatment or other possible remedies. ​
  • The services of an interpreter must be requested when the appointment is made with a physician, nurse, or midwife. ​


  • Tests such as blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds and CT-scans take place in hospitals or treatment facilities that specialise in performing such tests. ​
  • The physician will request a test electronically and people must make their way to the testing facility on their own. ​
  • The results are sent to the requesting physician. ​
  • The tests will need to be paid for. ​


  • The hospitals employ several medical specialists, in addition to specialists in private practice. ​
  • It is possible to request that the physician refer you to a medical specialist or make the appointment with the specialist directly. ​
  • Examples of available medical specialists are ophthalmologists, otorhinolaryngologists, gynecologists, obstetricians, pediatricians, psychiatrists, allergists, and gastroenterologists ​.


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