Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Take a Number

The Italian public healthcare system is said to be one of the best in the world, and it is definitely less expensive than going to the doctor in the US. However, waiting is an inherent part of the process. Here, people are waiting for their turn to schedule an appointment and pay the "ticket," or nominal fee for services.

The next wait is the month or more before your appointment rolls around. Obviously, you can get faster care in the case of an emergency.

There is also waiting involved on the day of your appointment. Just because you have an appointment for a certain hour doesn't mean you can expect to be seen at or around that time. Things work on a first-come-first-served basis. Many people send retired relatives ahead, in the early morning hours, to hold their place in line. Then the actual patient shows up closer to the time when they will be seen by the doctor. Cellphones have made this a much more accurate science. "Just two more people ahead of us, Luigi, get over here quick!"


calzetteros(s)e said...

It sounds like Sweden nowadays - my husband waited 11 (!) months for a hernia surgery... things are really moving in the wrong direction.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, it's a good system and I have reason to be grateful for it. But I know all about the waiting, too! I never thought of sending an elderly friend to hold my place - will have to try it!

Anonymous said...

omg - i so get this as i am going to deliver this baby in the public hospital this time around. last baby we went to a private clinic...but this has been a WHOLE new adventure. my dr left the clinic...and i'd follow him anywhere. he's wonderful. so i just close my eyes and "go to my happy place". :)