Rome is currently hotter than hell, but you’re not one to back down from a challenge. After hours in the heat and sun, however, even your Italian skills have melted and you need to see a doctor.
You need someone who can understand you without getting lost in translation. Even though Italy’s national health system (SSN) is of very high quality, two things may make you hesitate when it comes to using the SSN: long waiting room times and the language barrier. When you need quick, English-speaking medical care in Rome, FirstMed has your back.
Our clinic offers a broad range of services including general medicine (GP), lab tests (covid-19 antigen tests, STD tests, blood tests, etc.), specialist visits, and diagnostic imaging (x-ray and ultrasound) with staff and doctors who speak English, so you can rest easy.
Illness and injury is inevitable, and we understand that you may need medical attention during your time abroad whether you’re here for vacation or have relocated for work. In this case, of course you want an English-speaking doctor. Here are the FAQs that we often receive from patients when it comes to getting medical care in Rome:
1. What should I do in a medical emergency?
If you have a medical emergency in Italy, call 118! This is the line strictly dedicated to medical issues. If it’s unclear whether your situation is an emergency, consider this:
Medical emergencies are life- or limb-threatening and require immediate care. In a life-threatening emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke, visit the emergency room!
Here are some helpful phrases to communicate with the first responder:
Help! – Aiuto!
Call an ambulance – Chiami un’ambulanza
Please hurry – Fate presto, per favore
I need a doctor – Ho bisogno di un dottore
Take me to the emergency room – Portatemi al pronto soccorso
He/she isn’t breathing – Non respira
Is there anyone here who speaks English? – C’è qualcuno qui che parla inglese?
There has been an accident – C’è stato un incidente
Our address is… - Il nostro indirizzo è…
He/she is unconscious – Lui/lei è svenuto/a
He/she hit his/her head – Ha sbattuto la testa
The person has a broken bone - Ha l’osso rotto
Some people are badly injured – Ci sono feriti gravi
They may ask you to describe the circumstances and, depending on the gravity of the situation, assign a color code:
White (bianco): non-critical
Green (verde): non-urgent
Yellow (giallo): critical/urgent
Red (rosso): emergency
Non-life threatening problems like minor illnesses or injuries that can't wait until tomorrow, can be addressed at an urgent care center. For common illnesses, such as the flu, ear infections, strep throat, small cuts that require stitches, etc. you can visit an urgent care center.
2. Where can I get a Covid-19 test in Rome?
In Rome, many pharmacies and some private clinics can satisfy your Covid testing needs. In the post-pandemic era, Covid-19 testing has almost become second nature to us. Although many countries are no longer requesting them for entry, most cruise lines still require patients to have a negative test certificate prior to boarding. If you or your tour group need to get Covid-19 tests, it’s best to make an appointment ahead of time to guarantee availability.
3. What happens if I test positive for Covid in Rome?
According to the current government regulations surrounding people who test positive for Covid-19, a 7-day quarantine is mandatory before you can retest. During this quarantine period, you must stay inside your accommodation and must wear an FFP2 mask when you go out for your second test.
Additionally, Covid-19 antiviral treatment is not widely available in Italy, so be prepared to ride out the infection. If you have difficulty breathing or experience other serious symptoms, or if you are an at-risk patient and need medical care to monitor your status, contact National Institute of Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani on Via Portuense, 292.
4. What if I need urgent care (non life-threatening) in Rome?
FirstMed includes a variety of urgent care services including general medicine, lab tests, diagnostic imaging, all with staff and doctors who speak English so you know your concerns are clearly understood.
If you have a minor fracture, need stitches, have a non life-threatening allergic reaction, may have a UTI, or any other conditions that you need same-day care for, our doctors stand ready to help you.
5. Can I get non-emergency or preventive medical care in Rome?
Sometimes your symptoms are neither urgent or emergencies. If you’ve had certain concerns that have persisted for more than a couple of days or want to have a general screening, FirstMed’s general medicine covers a variety of medical issues.
In addition to providing care for different illnesses or conditions, we are available for regular annual well-person visits, consultations for medical questions you may have, or school, work, or sport certificates.
6. What if I need a specialist visit?
Should you need or get a referral for a specialist or have symptoms that require a specialist visit, give us a call or send an email. We have many specialties available, including orthopedics, gynecology, pediatrics, urology, dermatology, otolaryngology, and more. It is best to schedule an appointment ahead of time to guarantee that you will be seen when it’s best for you.
7. Where can I get lab tests done (blood tests, urine or stool tests, STD/STI tests, etc.)?
FirstMed offers a wide range of lab testing to meet your needs. Whether you are prescribed tests by one of our doctors or come with an order from another medical center, we are happy to accommodate you.
Not only do we offer Covid-19 tests, but our lab offers tests for strep, pregnancy, blood, urine and stool samples, sexually transmitted diseases and infections, antibody titers, and more. These results can be prepared for you in English!
8. Can I get an ultrasound or x-ray at FirstMed?
Yes! FirstMed’s ultrasound and x-ray services provide diagnostic imaging when it matters most to you. When lab tests can’t show the full picture and your doctor wants a more in-depth look, our x-ray lab and ultrasound are available to help you and your provider understand what kind of treatment is most effective for you.
9. Can I go to a public hospital? Will I be able to get care if I don’t speak Italian?
In short, yes. The care you receive at a public hospital or other public medical center is of very high quality. Keep in mind, however, that you might be sacrificing time and possibly the ability to clearly communicate with the provider.
Although many tour operators and travel workers may speak English, many Italians who don’t work in tourism or international companies do not. Don’t take it for granted that you’ll find an English-speaking doctor unless it is specified.
10. I have international/traveler’s insurance. Will I need to pay for my visit?
If you have private insurance, please notify us ahead of time. This way, we can check if there’s an agreement and the possibility of direct billing with your provider. In case we can accept your insurance, send us a copy of your insurance ID and–if not indicated on your policy card–your date of birth.
If it turns out that we are unable to apply your insurance policy or if you plan to pay out-of-pocket, consider asking the cost of the visit or treatment before booking to avoid any unwanted surprises.
11. I have the Italian National Health Service/European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Do I need to pay?
If you are an EU resident, you probably have the Italian national (SSN) or European Union health insurance card (EHIC) that allows you to get the equivalent standard of medical care throughout the EU. Although this card entitles you to quality care, it is only accepted in public health structures and limited private centers. In Italy, however, this means that you are not guaranteed quick or English-speaking care.
12. What if I don’t have health insurance?
If you don’t have insurance, there’s no need to worry! FirstMed offers our Value Card or Annual Health Plan to make sure you can get our quality care at reasonable prices. Give us a call to learn more about these plans and their amazing benefits.
13. Can I get my regular prescriptions abroad?
When possible, it is useful to have a hard or digital copy of your original prescription and medical records should you need to see a doctor to get a local prescription or the country’s equivalent. In the worst case scenario, you can complete a general medicine visit to evaluate your situation and decide on the best plan of action with your healthcare provider.
14. What if I need optical services?
If you need eye care, English-speaking optometrist Dr. Fabio Scarinci may be able to visit you. His medical office, Studio di Diagnosi Medica on Viale Regina Margherita, 270, is near the city center and easily reachable by taxi or public transport.
In the case of an emergency, the public Ophthalmic Hospital in Piazzale degli Eroi, 11 has an ER available for any urgent optical needs.
15. What if I need (emergency) dental care?
Going to the dentist can be a drag, we know! The reality is that anything could happen, even abroad. In case you need dental work while you’re in Rome, we recommend English-speaking Dott. Daniele Giacomuzzi at his studio on Via Benedetto Croce, 22, 00142 Roma (EUR).
16. Can't make it to the clinic? Connect with your doctor through ‘Telemedicine Virtual Visits!’
The best care is usually given at an in-person evaluation, but we know that it’s not always possible to come to the clinic. When you’re on the go with a minor illness or less serious condition, a telemedicine visit may be the right option for you. Additionally, a telemedicine visit can be a great option for those in quarantine due to a positive Covid-19 test result who need to speak with a doctor.
During this brief consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to share your concerns with the doctor. This will give the medical professional a chance to evaluate your symptoms and give their advice about the best next steps. If they think you need medicine or a deeper investigation, they will write a prescription or recommend lab tests or a specialist visit. Don’t let distance be an obstacle to receiving great care!
17. What should I do if I need help with bureacracy or settling in to Italy?
Our friends at the Welcome Association Italy (WAI) have your back! WAI is an association with social, civil and cultural purposes aiming to promote and implement welfare measures for foreign citizens living in Italy on both short- and long-term bases. Their programs are designed to provide its members with assistance, protection and agreed services. Visit their site to learn more about getting help in Italy as a foreigner!