UPDATE: I forgot to add that she even gave me a number for after hours and weekends so that I wouldn't have to go to the hospital and wait for days if I were sick. These people are great!
At some point, even though I can't remember when or by whom, I was told that in order to see a specialist, I'd have to first go to a general practitioner. This is how it used to be under my health insurance at home years ago, so it wasn't anything new. I got a recommendation from a colleague here for a doctor that works for a practice that is within walking distance from the office. I have to plan almost everything that I do around the office since nothing is open on the weekends it seems.
When I made the appointment, they only asked for my name and the date and time. No health insurance questions. I was able to make an appointment for 5:00 and headed over there a little early in order to try to sign in early since I figured I'd be sitting there for an hour. And then of course I also expected to be sitting in a room in the back for another hour. But that's not how it went at all.
Once I got there, I checked in and filled out the basic "first timer" form. As I sat there, people were called into the back and I swear most of them came out in no more than 5 minutes. Bing, bang, boom, done. Must be easily diagnosable. At about 5:10, I was called into the back by the actual doctor. No nurse came to greet me. She directed me to her office - yep, her office - and we sat in there and she answered all of my questions. Then she let me know that she can write any prescription that I would need. Therefore there's no need to see a GP then make an appointment with a specialist and have them write the prescription. Such a time saver!! She also can write prescriptions for a 6 month supply. You gotta be kidding me with this stuff.
As any American would, I hurried up to get health insurance thinking that if I got hit by the tram, I'd be in deep financial trouble. But they didn't even ask for it - ever. You pay a certain fee as a private patient and then submit all of your receipts at the end of the year for a refund. This is sort of a pain at the end of the year, but it's nice to be able to make an appointment without having to track down your health care information. And you don't have to choose specific doctors.
As far as the girly stuff goes, since boys read this blog I won't discuss it here. But if you girls are interested, just let me know and I'll send an email.
So, the result is that they have a much better handle on efficiency at the doctor's office here. Quite a pleasant experience!