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The Waiting Game

Silly me. I should have known that as frustrating as that appointment turned out to be, it couldn’t even be THAT easy. What I thought was an appointment to actually get a test run turned out to be an initial consult with an allergist. Now SHE’S ordered the test in question, but I can’t make an appointment to get it done until I get a notice by mail. Yes, I am serious. I feel my patience running out. Next stop: private allergist, I think.

I believe in public health care. And Spain actually has a pretty damn good system in comparison to many other countries in the world; in fact the WHO ranks it 7th in the world (admittedly this study is flawed in many ways, but it’s generally considered fairly accurate for the 1st world countries included). Like I said, I am all for public healthcare and I hope that someday it is a reality in the States, but I’m not sure the Spanish model is the one to follow.

Just a few random bits of data taken either from my own experience or from recent government studies*:

  • Maximum number of patients per General Practitioner*: 1500
  • Average wait for the GP: 1.5 hours
  • Likelihood of getting a same-day appointment with GP: 30% (you can always see the pediatrician same-day, even without an appointment, but you have to wait until everyone else has been seen)
  • Maximum number of patients per pediatrician*: 1200
  • Average wait for the pediatrician: 45 minutes (we always try for the very earliest appointment available)
  • Average time spent by pediatricians with their patients*: 9.3 minutes
  • Average wait to get an appointment with a specialist*: 2 months (all specialist appointments are referred through the GP)
  • Average wait for a specialist once at your appointment: 2 hours
  • Average waitlist for non-urgent surgery (gallbladder removal, for example)*: 4 months

As you can see, things are not perfect with the Spanish healthcare system. You may have to wait hours, weeks, months, but, and this is a big but, you WILL be treated. And you won’t be left with a huge medical bill. I’d say that makes the waiting quite a bit more bearable.



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