Survival of the Fitest ?

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28 Nov 2011 12:00 AM by Acer Star rating. 1492 posts Send private message

(that should be "Fittest" - but cannot seem to correct the heading)

IMHO access to medical attention is getting worse and worse in the UK.  I've just secured an appoitment to see a doctor later today by going to the surgery and queuing until it opened at 08.00 and at the same time 'phoning the surgery to try and book an appointment.  I succeeeded !

But I wondered how this compares to Spain ?  I believe you need to register as a resident - but having done so what are the prospects of seeing a doctor pronto when you need one.

My concern is that I can begrudgingly do what I did today - but in a few years time....

Your experiences appreciated.


This message was last edited by Acer on 28/11/2011.

Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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28 Nov 2011 11:43 AM by guslopez Star rating in Lorca, Murcia.. 745 posts Send private message

Same day here. No problem making an appt.


Todos somos Lorca.

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28 Nov 2011 1:37 PM by formentera costa Star rating. 368 posts Send private message


same here in murcia province, no more than 1 - 2 days

to see a doctor



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28 Nov 2011 3:19 PM by bobaol Star rating. 2253 posts Send private message

bobaol´s avatar

 At least in Spain you can get through on the phone.  You can even book your appointment on-line at the surgery in Quesada.

In UK, the system seemed to be phone at 0800 and you'll get an appointment.  Trouble is, everyone is doing the same and the phone is permanently engaged.  This is not the surgery fault, by the way.  When I was working as a practice manager we had a phone system that could take up to 128 phone calls at one time (and put them in a queue).  If the number exceed 128 calls at any one time then it gave the engaged tone.  The number of times you got the engaged tone showed how busy the system was and the only way to handle them all would be to employ 128 receptionsists, impossible as you can see.

At the surgery in our UK village, you have to phone at 0800 and you're lucky if you can get through within an hour, only to be told all appointments have been taken.  My Mum's surgery, you have to turn up in person at 0800 and are then given a time when to come back.  Bit awkward for my Mum as she is 88 and has to traipse all the way down then all the way back home before going back again.

The surgery I worked at had a 4 to 5 day waiting time for appointments (shocking, I know, but it was extremely busy) but we kept 10 appointments at the end of the morning and evening surgery for "genuine" emergencies who had to be seen on the same day.  Unfortunately, the patients soon got wind of this and every request was an emergency.  

Here, in Spain, we can either phone, book on-line or turn up in person.  You will always get a same day appointment BUT the population of our town is only about 6,000 and there are several surgeries.  The one I worked at in UK had almost 10,000 patients on the books (about 2,000 per GP) and all the other surgeries in the area had the same ratio or higher.  

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28 Nov 2011 3:50 PM by D_B_S Star rating. 178 posts Send private message

Have been fortunate in not needing to see a GP too often, but my experiences are:

When I lived in Spain (Barca)  it was usually same day.

In the UK we have a private GP and it's the same day and she usually calls to the house.

in Dubai its private (only free to locals) and its same day.

Suggest that many of the 'old style' GPs in the UK retired early when given a large pay increase and therefore pension increases by the Socialist administration. Now practices seem to open fewer hours and are staffed by part-timers who seem to use locum and out of hours services to extend coverage.

Spain certainly wins over the UK system.





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06 Dec 2011 10:20 PM by suemac Star rating in Jumilla, Murcia. 1001 posts Send private message

 I am fortunate in not having to see my doctor in Spain for anything serious, however I have friends here who need to see their doctor on a regular basis and who constantly  praise the Spanish system.  

My only experience of seeing my doctor (apart from seeing him on a regular basis in the bar next to the Centro de Slaud, where he goes for his coffee break!) was when I decided it was time to have my moles checked out.

It took me no more than a couple of minutes to make my appointment, as only one person was ahead of me in the queue.  I asked for an appointment for the following day and, as the time wasn't convenient (it was when I was due to meet a Spanish friend for coffee), I asked if I could have a later time.  No problem.

I had been given the room number where my doctor would be and when I arrived there was just one person waiting.  He asked me what my number was and told me he was before me.  I then spotted a list outside the room with my name, number and time.  I probably waited for five or ten minutes maximum, then it was my turn.  My doctor said everything looked fine, warned me to take care in the sun as I am fair skinned, which I do anyway, and suggested that I have them checked on an annual basis.  He then asked after my husband and said he hoped he wouldn't see me in his surgery for a while!

My doctor actually speaks good English, however all the other conversations were in Spanish, as we live inland where very few people speak English.

I have to say that it was a lot quicker and easier than seeing my doctor in the UK used to be!



 Sue Walker

Author of "Retiring the Ole Way", now available on Amazon

See my blog about our life in Spain:

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