NICE DRIVEWAY! AN OCCASIONAL COLUMN ON LIFE IN SLOVAKIA

The door with no handle

Getting treated in the Slovak public health care system is never less than an adventure. Some of the surprises are tiresome; many are just odd.

Waiting rooms are full of patients, illustrative stock photoWaiting rooms are full of patients, illustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

A lot of stories about Slovak health care dwell on the corruption that is said to infect the system. Mercifully, this is not something I have ever encountered.

But after a recent outing turned into what cyclists call “one of those rides that ends in accident and emergency”, I have had more experience than usual of the parallel universe that is the public health system.

From my position as a complete ignoramus (Slovak friends are scandalised that I have never taken my own temperature – but where do they teach you this stuff, and what am I supposed to do with the information anyway?), the standard of treatment seems fairly good. At least, I’m still here.

No need to worry about opioid epidemic in Slovakia

In the emergency department, I saw a doctor quickly – it probably helped that I looked a bit of a mess, and that it was a quiet Sunday afternoon – who sent me off for an x-ray. So far as I can tell, nothing happens in a Slovak hospital without being preceded by an x-ray. The x-ray department is typically at the end of a long and otherwise empty corridor in the furthest corner of the hospital.

Once they’d established that there was nothing seriously wrong with me – or at least nothing that wasn’t wrong already – they reset the bits that were out of place and sent me on my way, with instructions to see my doctor – and, if anything hurt, to take a Paralen(!).

With prescribing practices this stingy there seems, at least, to be little chance of an opioid epidemic in Slovakia.

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