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"During his six years working for St Helens Council Education Department, Paul was, among other things, our in-house "languages expert", doing the translating, interpreting and liaison with our twin towns in Chalon-Sur-Saône, France, Stuttgart, Germany and El Prat de Llobregat, Spain. His participation has enabled us to maintain strong links with all three towns, particularly in the field of education, where he set up and managed a very successful work experience programme for sixth formers"
Brian Mainwaring, Director of Education, St Helens Council, August 1995

An eye for an eye! PDF
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 00:00
 

And a tooth for a tooth!  Spanish health care comes in for a lot of praise in the press and other media. But what is the truth?  In the last week we’ve had two experiences, both of which have been nothing but excellent.

The Hausfrau has picked up three painful eye infections in as many weeks, so yesterday we decided it was time to see an ophthalmic doctor.

Not sure of the protocol, I popped into the local clinic to ask whether we needed to go there first or to our GP for a referral.  She urged us to go straight to A & E at Ronda hospital, as it would be quicker.

So off we went, thinking we could write off the next several hours sitting in a queue in a hot and crowded waiting room, as is the norm in the UK in my experience.

We checked in at reception and were told to take a seat and wait to be called.  We counted the number of people sitting and waiting and looked wryly at one another.

We needn’t have worried - within five minutes we were called through to the triage nurse who sent us immediately to Opthalmology Out Patients. After a meandering trek through the mass of people sitting around waiting in the narrow hot corridors, we handed in the sheet of bar codes we'd been given and settled in for a long wait. Within 20 minutes we were in the examination room and the Hausfrau was being thoroughly checked out by a young oculista. After a while she called a more experienced colleague for a second opinion; they gave their diagnosis, prescribed three lots of eyedrops and a balm and told us to come back in three days.

In and out in one hour – amazing!

That’s not all.  Last week the Hausfrau went for a long overdue check-up at the dentist, an Argentinian lady who spoke German.  It was her first ever visit to a dentist in Spain.  After nearly two hours of scraping, flossing and polishing by two people the bill came to ... 50 euros! Yes, 50 euros.

Also amazing!

How to sum up Spanish health care? Efficient, quick and very cheap (or free ...). 

© Paul Whitelock

 

 

 

Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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