‘Just call the Paed’ they said…

If I say that this very simple and seemingly benign phrase caused a little stress in my life it’s a MASSIVE understatement. Finding a Paediatrician in Frankfurt is easier said than done.  In fact, it may be easier to get an appointment with the queen of England than it is to get an appointment with a paediatrician in Germany.

Why you need a registered Paediatrician

If you live in Germany and have kids younger than 6 years old there are a number of mandatory checks (U1-U9) your child must attend. Unlike the UK where these checks are carried out by a health visitor, in Germany, they must be performed by a registered paediatrician at specific intervals (see table below). 

What are the U screenings in Germany?

These check ups or rather Kindervorsorgeuntersuchung/untersuchung (just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it) are classified as U1->U9.  They are the equivalent of the Baby Health and Development Reviews in the UK and Well Child visits in the United States.  The purpose of these visits is to identify any early health and developmental difficulties and treat them in a timely fashion.

U1 to U9 Break Down:

How to find a Paediatrician

  1. when you arrive in Frankfurt begin registering with a paediatrician immediately .  Many paediatricians are over subscribed so finding one is very time consuming
  2. don’t wait until a U screening is due (read my experience below)
  3. useful websites
    1. Doctor search (specify requirements and language) = TK
    2. Doctor search (specify your requirements) = Med Kolleg
    3. US embassy = list of English speaking doctors
  4. perseverance is your best friend

My personal experience:

Unfortunately I missed the U9 appointment (I had no idea that it needed to be done!) .  A rather intimidating letter from the city of Frankfurt (all in German) arriving in the mail was my first clue!  Simultaneously I panicked, hyperventilated with visions of child services arriving, I called their helpline immediately. However, the phone call ended almost before it began. That is to say, my German leaves much to be desired and their help desk spoke not a word of English!  I then tried email and managed to get an extension on the deadline specified in the letter.  Unfortunately they offered no help on how to find a paediatrician who would accept my child.

Consequently I turned to Google and armed with a map spattered with hundreds of little red dots (ie  registered paediatricians) I assumed my task simple!  No is the short answer.  As a matter of fact it took 107 thousand phone calls and close on 45 to 50 paediatricians before finding one willing to take my little boy.  At one point I even resorted to going into some of the practices hoping they’d find it more difficult saying no to my face, unfortunately they found it just as easy!

Good to know (Recap):

  • Kindervorsorgeuntersuchung/untersuchung (U1-U9) are required to be done by a paediatrician (Kinderarzt) not a general practitioner (hausarzt)
  • If your child is born in German they give you a yellow booklet at birth (das gelbe Heft).  It details when these check ups are due 
  • For kids born outside of Germany you can obtain this book (das gelbe Heft) from your paediatrician.
  • Start trying to register with a paediatrician the moment you land in Germany
  • Persevere you will get there in the end (you may need a coffee though????)

Useful Terminology:

  • child health check up = Kindervorsorgeuntersuchung/untersuchung
  • Family Doctor (general practitioner) = Hausarzt
  • Paediatrician = Kinderarzt