Healthcare in Sweden

Last updated: 4 10 2018

Image Boken om Sverige
This material is from the book About Sweden.

Health and medical care services are intended for, and accessible to, all people in Sweden. You don't have to pay a lot of money if you need to see a doctor, have an operation or be admitted to hospital. It is important to know how the health care system works and where you should turn if you need to use it.

The municipalities and the county councils or regions are responsible for healthcare.

Looking after yourself – self-care

You can deal with many simple diseases and injuries yourself. These include colds, fever, stomach flu or small wounds. You can read more about this in a book called The Self-care Guide. This is free and can be obtained from your primary care centre.

You can also call the healthcare advice service to get help. Nurses work at the healthcare advice service. They can tell you where to go if you need help.

Health care guidance services are open 24 hours a day. The telephone number is 1177, and staff there can also provide advice in Somali and Arabic.


Medicines are bought from a pharmacy. Some medicines are only available on prescription. This means that a doctor must decide you need to take them. This is the case with antibiotics, which you may need to take if you have an infection that is caused by bacteria, for example tonsillitis or pneumonia. The doctor writes you a prescription and you can them buy the medicine at a pharmacy.

The people who work in the pharmacy also know a lot about various diseases and medicines. They can answer many of your questions. You can also obtain information and brochures about various diseases at a pharmacy.

If you are over 18, you can also buy non-prescription medicines such as painkillers in grocery stores.

If you have questions about your medication, you can contact Läkemedelsupplysningen, where you can get answers to questions about how the medication works, how to take it and store it. Phone Läkemedelsupplysningen on 0771-46 70 10.