Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Embraced by health

Among many other things, moving implies changing our doctor. We have just become friendly with our GP whom Morag recommended when we first came to Cambridge. Staffan has got really chummy with him, admiring his bike gear and discussing all kinds of unrelated subjects. I am intimitated by doctors, so I never say anything beyond the absolutely necessary. The necessary is in this case my repeated prescriptions, because I am otherwise remarkably healthy for my age.

British NHS is a fantastic institution. I have always been impressed by the Swedish health service (with my Soviet reference frames) and said that I am happy to pay taxes as long as I know what I get in exchange. But I seem to get more here. Health service is indeed free. Even my regular medication is free. (In Sweden, you need to reach a certain level of costs before it gets free). And it is efficient. I don't need to see a doctor if I have repeated prescription, I just order my drugs online and collect from my preferred pharmacy. Very civilized.

But now we must change GP because we are outside the catchment area (see what interesting new words I am learning!). We wondered if it really mattered and were told that it would be too far away for the doctor to do home visits. During my twenty five years in Sweden, I never had a home visit from a GP. I don't think it is ever done.

So we have registered with Milton Surgery, just around the corner from Old School Lane. The routine here is different. Afternoon hours are for advance bookings. In the morning there are drop in appointments. First come first served. The reception nurse has warned me that first come early. They open the door at 7.30 and start boookings at 7.45. So I arrive at 7.15 and there are just four people before me, but a dozen more appear very quickly. The line is well disciplined, also when the door opens and we don't have a freeze outside and can sit down in the waiting room. No one tries to jump the line.

I get an appointment at 8.20 and go back home for another cup of coffee.

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