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Yet more contrasts

October 26, 2007

One of us has been rather sickly with an unknown illness. After (too much) prevarication the sickly one finally agreed that a medical opinion was needed. You may be getting the impression that neither of us are much good at being ill. You would be right.

Anyhoo, the easy solution was a trip to St Raphael’s, the local private hospital in Larnaca. Two minutes with reception secured an appointment for the following day with one of the founders of the hospital. A specialist, not a general practitioner. Standard appointments are 30 minutes, as opposed to the UK standard of 10 minutes.

The appointment started on time, with pleasantries and then a conversation about why we’d moved to Cyprus followed by a lengthy discussion about relative costs of things such as transport, housing and eating out. Essentials, you understand?

When we finally got around to the purpose of the visit the doctor asked a series of questions and subsequently decided that a diagnostic test was needed to get to the bottom of the problem. The sickly one had had exactly the same test a few years ago courtesy of very expensive company-provided medical insurance in England but it had taken a week to arrange, even via BUPA. Here the doctor had the equipment in his consulting rooms and carried out the test there and then. Within five minutes there was a diagnosis, a treatment plan, a follow-up appointment and an escalation plan for if things didn’t work as expected.

We’d have to dig through the records but we think that last time the cost for the diagnostic test (paid for by the insurance company) was about £180. This time the consultation and the test came to … £30 CYP. An earlier consultation at the hospital (when Mands hurt her leg swimming during rough seas) cost £20 so we assume the test cost a princely £10.

Hmmmm, £10 CYP (£12 GBP) and no waiting time vs £180 and a week’s wait even with medical insurance. Tough call eh? A quick trip across the road to the pharmacy got the prescribed drugs, for about £7 CYP. The downside there is that they come with no English instructions and little concern for contra-indications but hey, what do you expect for that price?

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