Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Waiting Rooms.

I recently introduced myself to the Belgian healthcare.

In an attempt to locate the nearest doctor, I decided to use my GPS system to scout out doctors in the area. To my surprise, my navigation system actually told me there were a couple on the street parallel to mine. So, I talked John into taking a walk with me in an attempt to make an appointment. Five minutes later and not able to locate a doctors office, I found myself walking into a pharmacy timidly asking if they knew of a doctor in the area. When the kind lady handed me a business card with a phone number, address, and office hours I was one step closer to making an appointment.

Upon my return home, I called the doctor, but apparently he was on house call and requested that I either come back later that evening or call later to make an appointment. Still not understanding the process and not attempting to ask further questions I decided to go in-person that evening.

Much to my surprise, there wasn't a secretary or even a sign-in sheet to keep track of the order in which patients arrive. Apparently it just goes on the honor system. The doctor comes into the waiting room and whomever is next in line gets up and follows.

I now understand the hours on the back of the card. Apparently "Op afspraak " means by appointment and "zonder afspraak" means no appointment needed. And, I will be sure to know exactly who is ahead of me in the waiting room next time I enter one!

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