Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Family doctor

Pam visited the doctor today, our first visit to our fastlege, or family doctor. It was very difficult for her to make an appointment over the phone – they have limited phone hours and didn't answer when called during these times. It was becoming very frustrating, but finally on Monday she got through and made an appointment for Wednesday, a short wait. We later found we should make an appointment through their webpage or by sending an SMS. I guess they don't bother with the telephone very often.

The doctor called her name almost immediately after arrival (we had a similar no-wait experience at the dentist). No nurses, no taking blood pressure and getting weighed, no further waiting once called back to the office. Just the doctor in a room with a fancy desk.

The appointment was quick. He wrote her a referral to an eye doctor and a prescription which is good for life. To renew the prescription she need only send a SMS from her mobile phone. Easy! The fee to visit the doctor was 250 kr., or about $45. The prescription costs $10/month, which is 1/3 the cost back in the U.S. She gets a medical expense card, and once annual fees exceed 1800 kr. (about $300) everything else for the year is free.

We're used to hearing people (not from Norway) complaining about socialized medicine, but we've had good experiences. Fast service, no hassles, quality care.

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