LOGIN or JOIN
information for global expats



Health Emergencies for Expats in Italy

Submitted: April 2014

If you are in an emergency situation, dial 118 (health emergencies service) or go straight to your nearest public hospital (Ospedale). You may also dial 112, which is the European emergency number. Calls to 118 or 112 are free.

There are other free emergency numbers in Italy, including:

  • 113: general emergency helpline (Soccorso pubblico di emergenza)
  • 112: Police (Carabinieri)
  • 115: Fire fighters (Vigili del fuoco)
  • 116: Road accident emergencies (Soccorso stradali)
  • 170: International English-speaking helpline

If you need to make a call but you can’t speak Italian, say it straightaway. In such situations, you might wish to be assisted by an Italian-speaker to handle the conversation. In any event, you must be able to describe the place where you are. A list of Italian keywords can be found here.

It is always advisable not to be alone at the hospital. Thus, you should call somebody to come with you to the hospital as soon as possible.

 

Emergency response

While the emergency service is coordinated at national level, it is managed at regional level. Some regions choose to let private ambulances do the work, others prefer relying on volunteer organisations (e.g. the Italian Red Cross). In some cases, the emergency service (or part thereof) may be run directly by the local authorities.

Given Italy’s large inequalities among regions, the emergency response times vary from one region to another. In theory, life-threatening emergencies should be responded to within 8 minutes. In practice, it may take longer in some regions. By law, it may anyway not exceed 20 minutes.

 

Once the ambulance comes

Overall, Italy has a problem of underpaying its ambulance personnel. This doesn’t automatically mean a lower service quality though.

First aid treatment may be provided on the scene or in the ambulance by a qualified physician and/or a nurse. Life-threatening emergencies are those for which you would expect the most qualified staff. Otherwise, the issue is more likely to be handled by volunteers.

 

At the hospital emergency room

As in most countries, a nurse will immediately assess your situation immediately upon coming to the hospital emergency room. The nurse will then determine how urgent your case is and assign you a colour accordingly.

 

Cost of emergency treatment

Italy is one of the few countries across Europe that provides emergency care for free with no questions asked. There is not even any requirement to be registered as a resident.

 

Doctor’s out-of-hours service

If your problem is urgent but is not an emergency, you might wish to call the out-of-hours service (Guardia medica) in your local area. If the helpline deems it necessary, they may send a doctor to your place.

There is no single phone number for the out-of-hours service. Each local area has its own number, which you should check in the telephone book.

 

Pharmacies

In Italy, the pharmacy business is regulated. In theory, there should be at least one pharmacy open at night in your local area.

 

Travel advice

Many countries provide updated travel information to their citizens, and this often includes health advice. You should regularly check the Foreign Office website of your home country to see if there are any specific steps you need to make. Alternatively, you can go to your local embassy in Italy.

 

Contribute

We value input from our readers. If you spot an error on this page or have any suggestions, please let us know.

 

Moving to Italy

If you are considering moving to Italy or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Italian section including; details of immigration and visas, Italian forums, Italian event listings and service providers in Italy.

picture1 Read More

Living in Italy

From your safety to shoppingliving in Italy can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks.  Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in Italy with relevant news and up-to-date information.

picture1 Read More

Working in Italy

Working in Italy can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in Italy, and general Italian culture of the labour market.

picture1 Read More


 
 
 
 

Information

About | Useful Links | Global Media Partners | Media | Advertising And Sales | Banners And Widgets | Glossary | RSS | Privacy & Cookies | Terms And Conditions | Editorial Policy | Refer To A Friend | Newsletters | Contact | Site Map

Important Notice: Wolters Kluwer TAA Limited has taken reasonable care in sourcing and presenting the information contained on this site, but accepts no responsibility for any financial or other loss or damage that may result from its use. In particular, users of the site are advised to take appropriate professional advice before committing themselves to involvement in offshore jurisdictions, offshore trusts or offshore investments. © Wolters Kluwer TAA Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

The Expat Briefing brand is owned and operated by Wolters Kluwer TAA Limited.