How Iceland’s Public Hospital System Works

Iceland’s public hospital system is widely praised for its accessibility, affordability and top-notch quality of care. With nearly all medical services offered free of charge, Icelanders are able to receive the medical attention they need without the financial burden that so often comes with it. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how the Icelandic public hospital system works and why it’s so amazing.

The Four Pillars of Healthcare

Healthcare in Iceland is based on four main pillars: universal access to healthcare, free health care, an integrated health care system and a focus on preventative care.

  1. Universal access to healthcare. All citizens, regardless of their income, have the right to basic healthcare services. This includes primary care visits and hospital stays.
  2. The second pillar of Icelandic healthcare is free healthcare. All citizens are entitled to a wide range of treatments and procedures at no cost. This includes laboratory tests, x-rays, scans, surgeries, specialist consultations, and preventive health screenings.
  3. The third pillar is an integrated healthcare system that focuses on coordinated patient care. All healthcare providers are connected through a national electronic health records system, so they can easily share information and provide comprehensive care.
  4. The final pillar is a focus on preventative care. In Iceland, there are initiatives such as school health screenings and vaccinations that are provided free of charge.

The History of Healthcare in Iceland

In 1930, a new law was introduced which saw the creation of Iceland’s first National Health Care System. This provided universal access to basic medical services such as general physicians, hospital care and maternity services. Over the years, this system has evolved and been updated to provide comprehensive healthcare coverage to all citizens, regardless of their income level or social standing.

Today, the Icelandic healthcare system is recognised as one of the best in the world and has been praised by many international organisations. According to the Iceland travel guide, “Iceland has a public health system that covers everything from emergency treatment and hospitalisation to preventive care and public health campaigns.” This high-quality health service is supported by well-trained medical professionals and modern facilities, making it one of the most reliable healthcare systems in Europe.

The Organisation of Healthcare in Iceland

Healthcare in Iceland is organised and managed by the Directorate of Health (DOH). The DOH is responsible for setting health care policies, overseeing the quality of care, and managing public health services. This includes managing hospitals, primary care clinics, and specialty care centres.

The DOH is divided into four main departments: Public Health, Primary Care, Specialty Care, and Research & Development.

The Funding of Healthcare in Iceland

The public healthcare system in Iceland is largely funded through taxes. The country has a progressive tax system, which means that those with higher incomes pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than those with lower incomes. This ensures that the cost of healthcare is spread evenly throughout the population, regardless of wealth.

Taxes fund most healthcare services, including primary care and hospital care. Iceland also has a voluntary health insurance scheme called the Social Security Institute, which is available to all citizens over 18 years of age, in all parts of the country.