In Australia - and Vienna – if you want to see your primary care doctor you go to their surgery and sit down and wait – usually not long. If you need to speak to them you ring and they speak to you.
This is a concept I have not encountered in Indianapolis. To see my primary care doctor I have to ring and make an appointment – and it will almost never be for the same day or the day after. One time I was offered an appointment 10 days out.
I cannot speak to my primary care doctor. If I ring his number I - after going through the usual hoops - I am told ‘the doctor is with a patient at the moment can I take a message?’
This is said by a person who I know is not in the same building as the doctor.
If I leave a message I am required to give my full name, birth date, address, phone number, and the nature of my request. My file will then be perused online by the telephone person who will ask me questions about my health, medications and current problems.
She will then – I assume – delete all the information - because no one has ever called me back.
You can go to a one minute clinic in a pharmacy. I am nor sure what the one minute refers to – it is certainly not the waiting time. However – the scope of their ministrations is limited. As I discovered last time - they do not do headaches. I was advised to see my primary carer or go to a medical center.
If you go to a medical center you can expect to send a lot of time filling out forms and waiting. Do not bother if you have a brain abscess. There will always one person in the waiting room who is dying and wants you all to know about it. If you have a brain abscess there will also be a child who will bang blocks on the kiddy play table every five seconds for an hour.
If you are really sick in America you have only two options – die or dial 911.
If you dial 911 the nice people will take you to the nearest emergency room ($600 per mile). There – if you are really lucky – a nice doctor will save your life.
This happened to me and I am well satisfied with the way things work here.