Private Healthcare Goes on Holiday

Your correspondent needed some antibiotics after a nasty tick, (the Finnish words is “punkki”, appropriately similar to the English word “punk”), the size of a pinhead, attacked his leg causing a bright red circle of inflamed skin, a clear symptom of Lyme Disease.

We were spending time on an our island some 120 km west of Helsinki, and the only way to see a doctor was to call our Helsinki public healthcare system. The call was not answered immediately but instead of waiting and waiting, the answering machine (they call them robots these days) offered me the chance to have a call-back as soon as possible. 

A nurse called back after 20 minutes and offered me the only free time that day, just 30 minutes later than the call. I had to refuse because the trip from our island to Helsinki takes around 1.5 hours. Nothing was available the next day.

I then tried to find a private sector doctor – they cost around €100 but they are always available – or so I thought. 

The first three healthcare firms had no times, and one was closed for all of July.

However, I managed to get a 15 minute appointment the next day at 21.40h in Helsinki for €73.

So much for the new efficient private giants… 

The public sector has too few resources and the private sector pays too much so that all the doctors disappear for their holidays leaving patients to beg for times.

In the end I went, but the price turned out to be €173 – something not mentioned on their website! 

Talk about a rip off for a 15 minute consultation!

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