Serious benefit of living in the UK - free health care. If I have to go to the doctor for anything it won't cost me a dime. Ash's knee surgery was completely free. I recently picked up a year's worth of birth control for free. 12 packs of birth control, for free! I feel like I should sell them on US ebay and then tell my doctor that I lost my prescription. I could start some sort of business!
No matter how long I live here this will fascinate me. Yes it is awesome, but I can't help but wonder - would this free health care be better health care if people did have to pay for it? First of all, everything takes a really long time here. You can't just call up and make an appointment. When I first moved here I registered at a doctor near Ash's parents' home. Since we've lived in our apartment for over a year now and are happy in the area I thought I would find a doctor closer to me. Seems simple enough right? Wrong. It was a month long process. Even after I registered I had to wait 2 weeks before making an appointment because they had to ''process my registration''. Then I had to wait for an available appointment slot. Good thing I wasn't seriously ill.
I can not imagine paying for health care here and being happy with the service received. On a recent trip to the doctor I came home thinking thoughts such as ''Thank God I didn't have to pay for that crap'' and ''oh well, at least it was free''. Every doctor that I've encountered here has a really bad attitude problem. Am I experiencing racism? Maybe they don't like that I am here, obviously American, and using their free health care? Whatever the reason, when I go to the doctor I feel like they can't get rid of me quick enough, they make me feel stupid for being there in the first place, and they seem like they can't be bothered to do their job. The appointment that I waited weeks for was over in 15 minutes and went something like this:
Doctor - come in, what can I do for you?
Me - well I'm a new patient so I wanted to come in for a general checkup.
Doctor - well I'll take your blood pressure.
(takes my blood pressure)
Doctor - what else? (what do you mean what else? do whatever you need to do that consists for a general checkup!)
Me - I would like a breast exam.
Doctor - do you examine your own breasts?
Me - yes, monthly.
Doc - then there's no point in me doing it. (yes! she said this!)
Me - well with all due respect my mother is a breast cancer survivor and I would feel more comfortable having a professional do a check up on me once a year.
Doc - we don't typically do that unless you're over the age of 50 but I suppose I can make an exception, but like I said there really is no point at all.
Me - well if you have a minute I would really appreciate it.
(does breast exam)
Doc - ok you're all set. we typically do breast exams once every 3 years so just come back then unless you need anything else in the meantime.
Maybe I should make my appointment now since it will likely take 3 years to schedule it. This whole situation infuriated me. I came out of the doctor's, called my mom to bitch about it, went home and bitched about it to Ash, and then bitched about it some more a few hours later. And here I am bitching about it now!
I do think that heath care should be a right - regardless of job, income, personal circumstance, whatever - everyone should have the right to free heath care. But GOOD free health care. I would've much rather paid money to see a doctor that made me feel comfortable and welcomed. The whole attitude of not taking preventive measures seems a bit ridiculous. I see stats on the news about the high rate of breast cancer in the UK. Well maybe if they didn't tell people to go see a doctor every 3 years after the age of 50 the rates would be a bit lower. I don't have a solution. I'm not a politician and I certainly don't know how to make health care free but also high quality ... but in a perfect world that's how it would be.