Apr 10th, 2008, 06:47 AM
Well I think I misspoke, because you're right. The most routine stuff (like physicals or if you're generally "not feeling well"), you can see a doctor that same day. In fact, it's a tad annoying because you have to call on the same day you want the appointment; you can't schedule appointments in advance unless it's a follow-up. I've never turned up to the clinic without calling first to make an appointment, so I don't know how that would go down.
But anything more advanced than that (like seeing a specialist or even a gynocologist), involves a lot of waiting.
From my experience, the system is bothersome because you need to see a GP before you're allowed to see a specialist (you have to be referred by the GP). Once you get the referral, you literally have to just wait around (usually a week or two) until you receive a letter in the mail informing you on how to make an appointment with the specialist. Then you call the specialist's office and can make an appointment a few weeks in advance (unless they have you go through a scheduling company which has to further refer you onto the appropriate office). So by the time you're actually seen by the appropriate doctor, a month or more has passed.
I know this from personal experience:
My son, who is 2 now, wasn't sleeping very well and we suspected it had to do with his tonsils or adenoids blocking his pharynx (the opening that leads to the larynx and trachea, then to the lungs) because he was having difficulty breathing while he was asleep. So we took him to the GP who confirmed that his tonsils were larger than normal, so he referred us to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. So we waited around for the referral letter to come in the mail, and after about 3 weeks, it finally came. I called the number to make an appointment, and the number I was given was to some kind of placement office that lets you choose which hospital you want to go to. So I chose and was given the number of the hospital. So then I had to call the hospital myself that I had chosen to make an appointment with. I was told I'd receive the appointment details in a week or so in the mail, which never came. After a few weeks of not receiving them, I called the hospital again who this time told me I'd have to call this other scheduling company to actually make the appointment, which I did. A couple more weeks later, we finally got the appointment details, and after 8 weeks and going through 3 different companies, my son was finally seen by an ENT who said his tonsils looked normal. By that time, he'd pretty much grown out of the problem I guess (2 months is a long time in child development terms), but the ENT still wanted to check his sleeping habits to identify a problem. So she said in a few weeks, we'd have a little monitoring machine sent to us. It's been another 2 months since that appointment and we never received a machine in the mail. And at this point, I don't really care to bug them about it, as my son is sleeping better, and I just can't be bothered anymore.
I'll just wait until we move back to California next year and use a real health system.
I do agree though that for people like Kitsa and Tadao, that kind of system might be good because mediocre care is at least better than no care at all.