Friday, September 5, 2008

Doctor, Doctor

Let's talk docs.

Due to paperwork, I JUST got health insurance after 5 years and two children. What's the f-ing rush? I feel free to become ill with reckless abandon.

I can't decide whether or not I like the system here. You have a general practitioner that you always visit first, then, if necessary, he or she refers you to a specialist.

Opzicht this isn't a bad idea, but what if you KNOW you need a dermatologist, or a psychologist? Isn't it just a waste of time?

Also, there's no "emergency room" at 2 a.m. with a crouping kid. You have to call the GP emergency line, and they decide whether to send you somewhere or come see you. It really does put you at their mercy. If you call the "911"-style number, they will come and decide if you really need an ambulance. You really only get to roar into the emergency room with flashy lights if you get hit by a tram, or something (Happens a lot. Mostly Germans, for some reason.)

Calling the doctor here isn't like calling them at home, though. They only have one or two lines, so if it's busy, you call them back instead of getting put on hold. They'll see you right away if necessary instead of scheduling you 4 months in advance, and if the receptionist isn't there - GET THIS! - sometimes the doctor will answer.

I almost passed out the day that I called and it rang and rang until the man who picked up said "Dr. Pool's office. Dr. Pool speaking." Can you imagine? The delicate geniuses themselves, not hiding behind the bodyguard ranks of nurses and assistants? He was booked for the day, so he told me to come at 5:30. Or the following morning at 7. Let me write that again - HE MADE TIME FOR ME OUTSIDE OFFICE HOURS.

The postpartum care is unbelievable. They have a nurse come to your home the first week after delivery to care for you, babysit your other kids, do the housework, shopping and whatever else you need. It's worth having a baby just to get that service.

All in all, you have a little less control, but a little less drama, too. And it is government subsidised, hence no emergency room for cuts and scrapes. Like everything else here it's "different, but not necessarily bad."


FoxyMoron said...

That sounds like the health system in Australia, well in NSW anyway, except for the ante-natal care, that is amazing. If a mother chooses the early release programme we get a midwife to come around for a week to weigh and check on the baby and to make sure the mother is recovering from the birth (my youngest is ten and I still haven't recovered but that's another story).

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