We all need medical assistance at various stages in life. Here’s how to access doctors in Luxembourg and what to expect when consulting one.
If you are considering a move to Luxembourg, the good news is that the country boasts a high-quality state healthcare system available to all residents. This includes a good network of doctors and medical specialists.
Here’s all the key information about doctors in Luxembourg, with sections on:
- Doctors in Luxembourg
- Who can access doctors in Luxembourg?
- Finding a doctor in Luxembourg
- Registering with a doctor in Luxembourg
- Making an appointment with doctors in Luxembourg
- Medical specialists in Luxembourg
- Costs of doctors and specialists in Luxembourg
- Health insurance in Luxembourg
- Private doctors and specialists in Luxembourg
- Prescriptions in Luxembourg
- Medical tests in Luxembourg
- Emergency doctors in Luxembourg
- Making a complaint about doctors or specialists in Luxembourg
- Useful resources
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COVID-19 in Luxembourg
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. Many expats find themselves separated from family and loved ones in their home countries. As a foreigner, it is also sometimes difficult to find critical information regarding coronavirus infection rates, local measures, and restrictions, and now, thankfully, vaccinations.
For general coronavirus information in Luxembourg, including vaccination schedules and the latest official restrictions, visit the Luxembourg government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.
Doctors in Luxembourg
Doctors in Luxembourg mostly work privately and are self-employed. However, the majority provide state sector services through the National Health Fund (Caisse nationale de Sante – CNS), a public health insurance system.
There are around 1,780 doctors in Luxembourg, including 534 general practitioners (GP). This works out to around three physicians per 1,000 inhabitants, which is above the global average of 1.6 but below the EU average of 3.7 per 1,000 people. Of course, all doctors in Luxembourg need a license from the Ministry of Health (Ministère de la Santé) and have to sign up to the Medical College (Collège Médical).
Most doctors in Luxembourg work in health clinics or private practices, while specialists typically work in hospitals. GPs are the first point of contact in Luxembourg’s primary care sector and offer services including:
- Healthcare advice
- Giving prescriptions for licensed medication
- Referring to specialists as necessary
- Conducting routine health checks
- Administering some vaccinations
Hours for GP surgeries vary but are typically from around 08:00 to 20:00 Monday to Saturday. Many surgeries close on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
Who can access doctors in Luxembourg?
All residents in Luxembourg can access doctors’ services through the state health insurance scheme. Most doctors have contracts with the state-funded CNS. You are free to choose your own doctor in Luxembourg. You can also change your doctor at any time but check first that they are contracted to provide state healthcare to avoid excess fees.
Non-residents and visitors to Luxembourg will need private health insurance to access GP services or specialist treatment. Residents of other European Union or European Free Trade Area countries can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you don’t have any form of health insurance, then you will only be eligible for emergency treatment in Luxembourg and costs will be determined by any travel insurance you may have.
Finding a doctor in Luxembourg
It’s fairly straightforward to find doctors in Luxembourg. Residents are free to choose their own GP, although for convenience you may want to find the closest one to you that offers state-funded services.
You can search for doctors in Luxembourg by using:
- Collège Médical – this is the official medical body that all health professionals in Luxembourg need to sign up to. You can search alphabetically or by specialty.
- Doctena Luxembourg – this allows you to search by location, specialty, or language.
You can also check ReviewEuro for reviews of doctors operating in Luxembourg.
When looking for a GP in Luxembourg, make sure to check that they provide state-funded services through the CNS, unless you have private health insurance or are prepared to pay for treatment.
Finding English-speaking doctors in Luxembourg
Some doctors in Luxembourg provide English-speaking or bilingual services, however, this is not standard in a country where English is not a widely-spoken language. Therefore, if you want to find medical professionals that can speak English, you’ll need to take this into account when carrying out your search.
Additionally, your embassy or consulate in Luxembourg may have information on health services available in your native language. For example, the UK government has details on English-speaking medical facilities and practitioners available in Luxembourg.
Registering with a doctor in Luxembourg
You can register with a doctor of your choosing in Luxembourg, although if you’re using public healthcare services then you’ll need to find one signed up through the CNS. Most citizens in Luxembourg register with a GP local to them.
Because doctors operate as private professionals, the registration process can vary between surgeries. You will typically register in person at your first appointment. However, some GPs may offer online registration. You can register yourself or as a family.
To register, you will typically need to provide:
- CNS card or proof of private health insurance
- Your address
- Medical records if you have them, including vaccination records for your children if you are registering as a family
You may need to fill out a health form as part of the registration process. Once you have registered, you will be able to make appointments with your GP whenever you need to. If you don’t register with a doctor in Luxembourg, you will still be able to access emergency treatment.
Making an appointment with doctors in Luxembourg
Each practice in Luxembourg will have its own appointments process which should be explained to you when you register. Some surgeries operate by appointment (rendezvous) only, while some also offer a walk-in service. Typically this is through a ticketing system, where you take a numbered ticket and wait to be called.
You can make an appointment with your GP by phone or in person at the surgery. With many GPs you can also now book an appointment online. Doctena offers an easy online booking service through its website and also a smartphone app.
Waiting times for GP appointments are generally not too long. In fact, you can often get a same-day appointment. If you visit a walk-in, you may have to wait a few hours. Many doctors in Luxembourg carry out home visits, although this may only be between certain hours. If you don’t show up for an appointment or cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice, your doctor may charge you for the appointment.
To help patients access medical services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CNS has launched the eConsult platform. This enables you to have a virtual appointment with a GP, nurse, or specialist via audio or video. You will need to create an account using your 13-digit CNS number. You will also need access to a smartphone or suitable electronic device for the appointment.
What to expect when visiting a doctor in Luxembourg
When you attend a doctor’s appointment in Luxembourg, you should report to the reception and present your CNS card (or proof of health insurance). It’s advisable to turn up around five to 10 minutes before your appointment. Usually, it doesn’t take too long to be seen.
Doctors’ appointments in Luxembourg do not usually last too long. Although many doctors will speak good English, doctors in Luxembourg don’t tend to spend a lot of time chatting during appointments and can be quite reserved in their manner.
Once you have seen a doctor in Luxembourg, they keep your health information on a patient record which you can view at any point. Patients with chronic or severe illnesses will have a more detailed summary of their condition and the doctor will be responsible for monitoring and coordinating long-term care.
Before you leave, you will need to pay the bill for your appointment at the reception. Make sure you get a receipt to send to your insurer for reimbursement.
If you book a virtual appointment through eConsult, you should receive a link to access the teleconsultation. You will then get a reminder shortly before the start of the appointment. When you sign in, you may have to spend a few minutes in a virtual waiting room. The appointment proceeds in much the same way as a standard session. You will have to pay for the session online at the end. If your GP feels that you need a physical examination, they will make the necessary arrangements.
Medical specialists in Luxembourg
There are over 1,200 medical specialists in Luxembourg, which amounts to over two-thirds of all licensed medical professionals in the country. These are spread across 52 specialty professions. Specialists in Luxembourg include:
Unlike in many other European countries, you don’t need a GP referral to access specialist treatment in Luxembourg. Specialists typically work in hospitals, specialist centers, and clinics. They tend to operate by appointment only and there can sometimes be long waiting lists, depending on availability and demand.
All specialists need a medical degree and qualifications in their field of specialty. As with GPs, they need a license from the Ministry of Health and have to sign up to the Collège Médical. Many are members of professional bodies such as the Luxembourg Society of Cardiology, the Luxembourg Association of Physiotherapists, or the Luxembourg Society of Psychology.
Finding a specialist in Luxembourg
You can find specialists in Luxembourg in many different ways. For example, you can:
- Search on Collège Médical by specialty profession.
- Use the Doctena Luxembourg website or app to search by specialty, location, or language.
- Check our business listings for Luxembourg.
- Contact one of Luxembourg’s many specialist hospitals.
- Find details of specialists that provide services in your native language, by contacting your embassy or consulate in Luxembourg.
Cost of doctors and specialists in Luxembourg
The costs for doctors and specialists in Luxembourg are covered through state health insurance, but you must normally pay upfront and then get reimbursed. Doctors that provide services through the CNS have to charge a standard amount that is set by the government.
Reimbursement rates are typically between 80% to 100% for the following:
- Medical treatment
- Analysis and laboratory tests
- Hearing, visual and speech aids
- Medical devices
- Maternity care
- Rehabilitation costs
Current reimbursement rates for adults are 88% for consultations and treatment with doctors and most specialists (reduced to 80% for home visits). Reimbursement for standard physiotherapy treatment is 70%. In-patient hospital stays, some maternity care, and long-term nursing care are reimbursed at 100%, although adults have to pay a non-refundable daily fee for the stay. All healthcare for children is reimbursed at 100%.
The state health insurance agency, CNS, has a full list of reimbursement rates online.
You will need to pay upfront and send an invoice along with your CNS number to your insurer for reimbursement by either check or bank transfer. This is normally done within three weeks. If you are unable to pay upfront fees, for example, if you are unemployed, you might be entitled to assistance where the bills are settled on your behalf by your insurer or a third party.
Health insurance in Luxembourg
Healthcare in Luxembourg operates on a public insurance system that is administered through the national healthcare provider, CNS. All employees and self-employed workers pay social security contributions that entitle them and dependent family members (including students until the age of 27) to public healthcare. CNS coverage means that you can apply for reimbursements to reclaim healthcare costs.
If you are not covered by the public health insurance scheme in Luxembourg or want a higher level of coverage, you can choose to go private. Several international health insurance companies offer coverage for expats in Luxembourg, including:
Private doctors and specialists in Luxembourg
Because the quality of Luxembourg’s public healthcare is very good, the country doesn’t have a large private healthcare sector. Hospitals are all public and most doctors have contracts with the CNS.
However, many doctors and specialists do offer extra private treatments not available through the public system. You can also find some exclusively private medical professionals.
You can access private treatment in Luxembourg through private health insurance, or by paying for treatment costs directly if you don’t have insurance to cover it. Treatments and services that private insurance will cover include:
- Complementary therapies (other than homeopathy which is reimbursed at 80% by public insurance)
- Cosmetic surgery
- Eye-care not covered through public insurance
- Supplementary care, for example, if you choose to have physiotherapy or counseling sessions
- Personal conveniences, such as private rooms in the hospital or out-of-hours GP appointments
You can also take out private health insurance to cover the portion of healthcare costs that your public insurance doesn’t cover, such as the 12% of GP costs that you normally pay yourself.
Around 75% of residents in Luxembourg have some form of private insurance to top up their public health insurance. If you don’t have any form of health insurance in Luxembourg, seeing a GP privately will cost around €40 to €50 for a consultation. Specialist consultations and treatment costs may be more. Your doctor or specialist will be able to provide you with a full list of fees.
Prescriptions in Luxembourg
Doctors in Luxembourg can prescribe medication that you’ll need to pick up from a local pharmacy. Pharmacies in Luxembourg have a large green cross on the sign. Most are only open during normal business hours, however, there are also ‘duty pharmacies’ which operate after-hours. If you have a prescription, you may have to pay for it upfront and then claim reimbursement from your insurer.
Luxembourg operates a three-tier reimbursement rate procedure through the public insurance system:
- reduced 40% rate for non-essential prescriptions
- standard 80% rate for most prescriptions
- preferential 100% rate for prescriptions treating serious or chronic conditions
Hearing aids and contact lenses are also usually reimbursed at 100%. Contraception for women aged under 30 is reimbursed at 80%.
You can buy over-the-counter medication such as paracetamol or antiseptic creams at most pharmacies. You can also buy some medication normally available through prescription, but you will have to pay the full amount and also consult the pharmacist first to discuss your symptoms. The CNS publishes a list of licensed medicines (in French) that pharmacies can sell.
Medical tests in Luxembourg
Doctors may carry out medical tests or send you for an examination at a health center if they think you need a check for a specific health issue. However, you don’t need to wait for your GP if you want an examination by a specialist or to get a blood test at a health center or clinic. Check ahead if you want to find out whether your health insurance will cover any costs.
Employers in Luxembourg routinely send newly recruited staff for a medical check. This is to flag up any health issues and make sure that the employee is medically fit for the job. The employer will cover the costs of this through their occupational health insurance plan.
Luxembourg has health screening programs for certain high-risk conditions such as bowel cancer and breast cancer. You can check the government health portal for full details of preventative healthcare techniques in Luxembourg.
Emergency doctors in Luxembourg
The number for medical emergencies in Luxembourg is 112. Emergency care is available in emergency rooms in larger hospitals. This is free of charge even to those with no health insurance.
If you need after-hours treatment in Luxembourg, you can visit one of the three Maisons Médicales (Medical Homes) in either Luxembourg City, Belval, or Ettelbruck. These are open from 20:00–00:00 on weekdays and 08:00–00:00 on weekends. After midnight, you will need to call 112 to be put in touch with a doctor at a Maison Médicale.
Making a complaint about doctors or specialists in Luxembourg
If you wish to complain about a doctor or specialist in Luxembourg, for example, if you are unhappy with their treatment or feel that you have been unfairly denied treatment, you can contact the National Health Information and Mediation Service (Service National d’Information et de Médiation Santé). This is the health ombudsman in Luxembourg offering dispute resolution as well as information on healthcare in Luxembourg.
The service is free, although you will need to submit your complaint in writing in one of Luxembourg’s three official languages (French, German, Luxembourgish). Once contacted, the ombudsman has the right to access your medical files and may call an informal meeting between both parties as a step towards resolving the matter. They may also involve your insurer if necessary. The ombudsman will aim to reach an agreement that both parties are happy with, and prepared to sign, within a few weeks.
If you want to make a complaint about the CNS, you can contact the Social Security Arbitral Council (Conseil Arbitral de la Sécurité Sociale – CASS). You need to complain in writing within 40 days of either the incident or the decision you are unhappy with. If you are unhappy with the outcome reached by CASS, you can appeal to the Court of Cassation (Cour de Cassation), but keep in mind you will need legal representation.
For information on patients’ rights in Luxembourg, you can contact Patiente Vertriedung ASBL.
- Caisse nationale de Sante (CNS) – Luxembourg’s Public Health Service
- Citizens’ portal – on the government website
- Sante.lu – government health portal
- Collège Médical – official body for medical professionals in Luxembourg where you can find licensed doctors and specialists (in French)
- Doctena Luxembourg – search for doctors and specialists as well as book appointments online
- A list of pharmacies in Luxembourg (in French)