Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Best Bureaucracy You Can Find, Part II

Yesterday, I walked to the doctor's office I was supposed to go to in the first place. I went to the window and told the receptionists why I was there. They asked me for proof of address--fortunately for me, I had a bank statement in my bag--and then gave me two mercifully short forms. I filled them out and gave them back. On the spot, they made a screening appointment for me for tomorrow and handed me a container for a urine sample. I asked about my prescription. They told me to call after 1 p.m. tomorrow and they'd make an appointment to discuss this with a doctor before my screening.

How many times can you do that with an American doctor? Maybe this will be OK after all.

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Blogger Middle Kid said...

Didn't they ask to see proof that you are legally in the country?

4:38 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Ironically, no, although I had my passport/visa with me, so I could have proven it.

With all the problems the NHS has with quality, you wouldn't choose England as a destination if you were looking to game the system.

I'd choose, I don't know, Germany? Sweden?

4:46 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

By the way, I assume the container's for a urine sample.


Maybe I better call them.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

I have a couple of friends who work in social services here in the U.S. They are not allowed to help anyone who can't prove their citizenship. This includes some elderly people who were obviously born in this country, but were born at home and never got a birth certificate. These people even have Social Security numbers and have had drivers' licenses. It's just interesting to me that Smitty, whom I assume oozes American, isn't asked to prove he's in the country legally.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

The only way you can get health care in the UK is to register with NHS--even if you have private coverage.

I don't know exactly why this is.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous The Old Man From Scene 24 said...

How did you have to pay for your prescription, or is the cost of drugs also covered under the NHS?

2:03 PM  
Anonymous pseudonymous in nc said...

Several groups of people get free prescriptions (kids, over-60s, people on state benefits, etc.) and more prescriptions are issued for free than are paid for.

If you do have to pay, it's £6.65 per item (about $11.60) regardless of the drug. You can also buy a prepayment certificate (£35/4mo or £95/yr) which covers any number of prescriptions during that time period. That's especially useful if you expect to need two or more prescriptions a month, although many NHS doctors will write prescriptions for more than a month's supply, should it be the kind of treatment that doesn't need regular checkups or involve drugs that can't be sold on the black market.

By the way, I assume the container's for a urine sample.

Yes. Middle of the stream, please, Mr W.

As for proving you're in the UK legally: the assumption is that if you have proof of residency, you're in legally. After all, as a state-run system, it's a branch of the same organisation that's responsible for letting you into the country, which isn't the case in the US.

And why do you need to register with the NHS? Because private coverage isn't comprehensive. (There are no private A&E departments, for instance.)

5:43 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

I guess you really can't run over the border like you can here. Thanks for clarifying, Psuedonymous.

9:07 PM  

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