A Healthy Dose of Confusion

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image of a doctor

The national health service in Cyprus is great in terms of actual health care. Admittedly there are differences between the UK and Cyprus. Food in a Cypriot hospital is only going to cater for Cypriot tastes, so if you don’t want your jelly sweet on your plate of sausages you had better say so. Nurses tend to do health care stuff rather than make the beds in Cyprus and if you want family and friends to visit, make sure they bring you a takeaway, just in case the jelly on your sausages has melted.

Where there is a major difference is in the administration side. It’s only now becoming computer driven, and then it’s a very, very slow process. Repeat prescriptions are not printed by a computer, in fact no prescriptions are automated, they all have to be written out by the doctor, by hand. Registering with a doctor is pretty straightforward, if you don’t mind standing in a queue for long stretches of time.

Where we do have a slight problem is with the language. I cannot get my head around the Greek language, it’s all Greek to me. But as most Cypriots speak a good level of English it’s rarely a problem. What is a problem is the confusion in how their system works. I’m not confused, the doctors and nurses are the ones who are confused by their own system. Yesterday was a good example. Last week I was told by my diabetic doctor I needed a new monitor to check my blood sugar. He told me I needed to see the diabetic nurse at Larnaca General Hospital. He even telephoned her for me to arrange an appointment at 11am on Friday.

I duly turned up at eleven and the nurse was confused, she couldn’t remember anything about the conversation she had with the doctor on Tuesday. When the penny did eventually drop, she asked me for my prescription book.

“I haven’t brought it. Nobody told me I needed that!”

“Yes, yes,” she answered. “Come back Monday. I will not be here but I will tell the nurse on duty what you need. She will get the prescription from the duty doctor. Everything will be fine.”

Famous last words.

At eleven, again, I turned up and the nurse had no idea why I was there. At the same time as dealing with me she managed to deal with a distraught Irish lady who needed testing strips from the pharmacy but couldn’t get any. A doctor who had a laugh and a joke with her and three phone calls.

Finally she managed to make a phone call to the pharmacy who informed her there were no testing machines, they were out of stock. She also spoke to my doctor on the phone who was confused as to why I was there and why he had not written out the prescription. He wasn’t the only one who was confused. Why send me to Larnaca Hospital without a prescription? What was the point in that?

At that point an elderly couple walked in on my meeting and began regaling the nurse with some ripe language in Greek! That was my queue to leave and wash my hands of another wasted day. At 63 years old it’s not as if I have many days left to waste.

So, confusion reigned and the upshot is I have to see my doctor today to get a prescription for the new blood testing machine. An entire week has gone by because of this confusion and I’m still non the wiser as to what is actually going to happen.

Good job I wasn’t  in for a heart by-pass, who knows what I may have ended up with.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

Read a free sample of  my books Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimite.

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An expats odd and sometimes crazy life in Cyprus

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