The differences in health care systems is a hot topic, rife with misinformation.
When mon mari was in hospital last summer (see side bar – French Medicine) I had as many people say: ‘Thankfully, he’s in France’ as asked: ‘Will he get adequate care in France?’ (For those who don’t know, the Word Health Organization has long rated France number one in the world for health care.)
One aspect of the debate that doesn’t come up, or, at least, I haven’t heard it, is how Europeans use their health care.
Dentistry, for example.
If you have a problem, it’s taken care of quickly, and paid for by the health system, of course.
But, if you just want your teeth cleaned? Or any kind of preventive treatment? I haven’t found it.
In Ireland, when we asked for a recommendation for a dentist, it was assumed that one of us was in extreme pain and needed a tooth pulled immediately. I mean, why would anyone go to a dentist unless they were desperate?
In Andorra, our British neighbor was a dentist. He explained that, as no one wants to get their teeth cleaned, there are no hygienists to do it. He would do the cleaning, if asked, but would rather not waste valuable billing time cleaning teeth when extractions and crowns were so much more profitable.
The dentist we used in the Vendée would do it, but a cursory job at best. I don’t think money was the issue for him as I went to him with a problem that turned out to be a sinus infection. He didn’t charge me for the visit because he didn’t do anything but an examination.
I accept the fact that most Europeans do not seek out dentists….
And that the American Dental Association has done an admirable job of promoting preventive dentistry.
What about other doctors?
When we moved here, I asked for names of doctors. It’s always nice to have one recommended rather that just use the phone directory.
No problem getting the name of a GP. Yes, they still exist here….
But none of the women I asked knew of a GYN.
I couldn’t hardly ask them if they didn’t go in for annual exams – or bi-decade exams. That may have been considered a bit intrusive.
But I found it very strange.
I asked women with young children and women with grandchildren. I was told “Oh no, I had a hysterectomy” and “Oh no, no more children for us”.
I was told “I go back to England because all French GYN’s are old men”.
I had been asking British women, in hopes of finding a doctor that spoke some English.
I finally asked a French woman.
I immediately was given the name and a glowing recommendation of a woman doctor.
While the French health system has long been praised, the same is not true of the British system.
Do the British not bother with routine exams because their health system is difficult or tedious to use?
Do the French use their health system because it’s easy and paid for?
Or is the French system so easy to use, and so good because the French people expect and demand it?
Now, if we could only get them equally concerned about their teeth I’d be able to get mine cleaned for 20 euros….
Rather than the $120 I pay when I have it done in the US.
I said the American Dentists had done a good job…..
BTW, rates charged by doc’s in France: The GP gets 22 euros for an office visit; the GYN gets 28 for an office visit and exam…. But a GYN is a specialist..
With all this talk about doctors we should have something healthy to eat….
The markets are being inundated with avocados, so a salad seemed in order.
Avocado and White Bean Salad
This is a simple salad but full of heart-healthy fats. The vinaigrette blends with the avocado making the dressing thick and creamy.
1 rib celery
2 eggs, hard-boiled
1cup (8oz, 250gr) white beans (cannellini)
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
4 tsp white balsamic vinegar
3 tbs olive oil, the good stuff
Boil the eggs.
Slice the celery on a diagonal to get nice big slices. Rinse the beans, drain. Cube the avocado and scoop it out of the shells. Peel the eggs and roughly chop. Combine avocado, celery, beans and egg in a bowl. In another bowl whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Slowly drizzle in oil and whisk until thickened. Add to salad and stir gently to combine.
I should mention, one of the reasons the French doctor’s keep their costs down is they don’t bother with such trivialities as paper gowns and paper wraps. American modesty has no place in a French doctor’s office. One strips while chatting…. No more details, that would be way too much information….
At least this one doesn’t have a ground floor window opening onto the street….