Sunday, December 19, 2010

Medical Care in Sweden

Need a doctor? Hopefully not in Sweden becuase the entire process of how seeing a doctor is handled here is complicated and confusing.

Just as with most other things in Sweden, seeing a doctor requires you first take a number from a dispenser, after which you wait to see the secretary who takes your information and then you are in the cue to see a Nurse. The nurse will then take a look at you and assess whether or not you need to see a doctor. The whole process is complicated in that if you do get the opportunity to see the doctor you are charged a fee for the visit. Somewhat confusing how with the high rate of taxation here, one still has to pay a fee for the doctor when this is not the case in Canada where are tax rates are much lower. Its true however that there is a yearly maximum for doctors fees however if your a fairly healthy individual, you more then likely will never reach this threashold.

Another strange difference here in Sweden is that unlike in Canada where your able to go to any clinic and see the doctor of your choice, here in Sweden you become registered to a specific medical center and at that point your not able to see doctors at other locations. This is somewhat frustrating in the fact that if the office you are registered at is very busy, you cannot visit a location that is less so.

It also seems that Doctors here in Sweden prefer not to perscribe medication. For example several months ago i needed some antibiotics and the Doctor informed me that i would need about a weeks worth of medication which you would take a pill 3 times a day so 21 pills should be necessary, however she then informed me that they only sell these pills in packages of 20 and 40, instead of just perscribing me 40 pills to ensure that i would have enough medication to cure the infection, instead she perscribed me the 20 pill package. Well it was all well and good, and i was almost healed when wouldn't know it, i ran out of pills and had to go to the doctor again. wait in the cue, pay all the fees and then get another perscription. A waste of time, money and frustrating to boot.

Dentists in Sweden?
Similar to Dentists in Canada, they are privatized here and can charge what fees they choose however there is transparency in what your paying versus what the government states you should be charged. On top of that, there is insurance here so that if you are in need of some major work you pay on a declining scale over certain threasholds. This i have to say is better then in Canada where you need to purchase fairly costly insurance to cover higher dentist bills if your work does not provide you with a good medical plan.

The problem however is again with being able to visit the Dentist in the first place. For example, since i am new here, there is no way to see a dentist as im not a patient of any dentist. The only way around this is to call an 'emergency dental help' hotline which will book you an appointment that same day at a dentist and will charge you for the pleasure on top of any fees the dentist charges.

The Swedish Word of the day is: tandkött which means gums (literally translated however it means toothmeat.

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