I'm Brazilian, with Italian citizenship, living in UK for the past 9 months. Has been a blast so far, much better than I expected, its like a dream come true. Definitely will not come back to Brazil to live if I have the option.
But I'm going crazy with the NHS and now I miss having private insurance. Of course, Brazil public health is a pile or garbage where people die in the hospital corridors, sometimes like a horror movie. But in Brazil, if you have private insurance, you can see a doctor at the same day, have an MRI in the next, the results in the other day and come back to the doctor the next day. Like, if you injury your knee, in 4 days you can have a diagnostic including an image exam in a top place. If it is private. If it is public, well, good luck, I hope you dont die.
5 weeks ago I injury my right shoulder and left knee. Cant move my right arm, my left knee hurt as hell but I can walk. OK, time to test the NHS. GP could not see me the same day, so I went to the hospital. Got checked there, nice treatments, had an x-ray for the shoulder. Nobody cared about the knee. Treatment: get some painkillers and do home exercises, will take two months to heal.
After three weeks didnt get better, tried the GP. Cant make an appointment, he calls back and makes appointments only if necessary. He calls me and asks me to come back to hospital to have an x-ray specifically to check if shoulder was dislocated. Then call NHS requesting Fisiotherapy. Go to hospital, they tell me to go home and have painkillers and do home exercises. I asked but they refused an MRI. I call NHS for Fisio, after 30 minutes making an assessment on the phone they tell me to do 3 more weeks of home exercise.
I give up on NHS and decide to use my company private insurance. They tell me the GP needs to first give me a referral. For me makes no sense the private insurance dont have GP's. Call the GP again, which says will do the referral letter for me. After 3 days of no answer I call them and they say to me referral letter take up for two weeks to get ready. I panic. Try other Pratices, they all tell me yes it takes up for two weeks for a goddam letter to use my PRIVATE insurance, and the other pratices I cant join since its out of their catchment area.
So I decided to go for a private GP and spend 100 pounds. Will see him friday. I hope he can give this letter, so I can use my private insurance.
In the moment Im considering buying a ticket and one week of vacation to get treatment in Brazil or any other country with the option of private treatment.
Sorry for the long story, but this is what is happening to me in a 1st world country with, in theory, a great publich health system.
What about you? Canada? Germany, Italy, nordic countries? How does it work there?
Americans... careful what you wish for...
Sorry for the wall of text, I considered deleting it but gave up.