Doctor Who

So I briefly touched on my dental encounter in Scotland. Going (begrudgingly) forward from that, I’ll probably go to a private dentist for a cleaning in the next 5 months and submit the bill on a claim to my dental insurance. Just because I never have a cleaning that doesn’t result in the need for dental work, and I’m not doing NHS for dental work.

Why do I need a doctor? I knew I needed one for the Paris Marathon because they make you have a medical certificate that a doctor has examined you and specifically says:

“no contra-indication to athletics in competition” or “no contra-indication to running in competition.”

Apparently this is because:

Law #99-223 on protecting the health of sportsmen and on preventing the consumption of illicit drugs was passed by the French National Assembly on March 23, 1999.
Under the provisions of this new law, all French or non-French runners are required to produce proof of their fitness to participate in running competitions. Such proof must be in the form of a medical certificate issued by a doctor following a medical examination.

Fine, whatever. So last week I went to register for a doctor, was told that it’s about 4 weeks to make an appointment, and so I can do a same day appointment which is made via a phone call at 8am that day to see where I can get in. I finally got off my ass and did that this morning, when they told me no, these appointments are not for that type of thing. And I got a “medical appointment” for April 30 at 8am.

This screws me in a couple ways. But I know it’s my fault I waited so long. As mentioned I’m having a rather intense pain that has kept me running for going on 2 weeks. I’m seeing a PT and an “alternative health” person (I’ll call him a quack out of love) but wasn’t making process and kind of wanted an MRI. But to get an MRI at the private hospital, I still need a doctor recommending that. There are no private doctors so the process would be: get in to your regular doctor, he says you need an MRI and orthopedic appointment, here I’ll note you can not get an ortho appointment for at least 9 months on NHS…that’s no MRI, that’s just meeting an orthopedic specialist. So I’d tell doc. I want to go the private route, he can write a referral for MRI, I can take that to private hospital and probably get in the next week or so, pay for MRI myself and submit as an independent claim.

Wouldn't drag my feet so much if I could expect this at the Doctor's Office.

Wouldn’t drag my feet so much if I could expect this at the Doctor’s Office.

But wait, I also need the same doctor to say I’m healthy. If I’m demanding an MRI, he won’t say that.

The plan: get a same day appointment and have him sign off that I’m healthy to run the marathon, the next day get another same day appointment (hopefully with another doc) and pretend pain just started, get MRI lined up.

Well now I can’t same day appointment for my certificate and have to wait until the 30th! I shouldn’t have waited. C’est la vie. I’m banking on the fact that I think my quack fixed me so hopefully no MRI needed.

But this was supposed to be a helpful to expat blog post…whoops. Here’s the need to know of getting a doctor in Scotland:

  • You don’t need an NHS # or apply for that or anything, I think that’s a thing of the past.
  • Once you have a permanent residence (proof with utility bills/lease) and your visa- you can register at your local GP.
  • Use this site to find your closest GP. You can’t just pick and choose anyone.
  • Call the closest GP and make sure they are accepting new NHS patients.
  • Go to closest GP, they will verify your address and have a little map like a pizza delivery man to ensure you are in the right area.
  • You fill out some paperwork, give it back, and within 2-3 days you should be in their system and ready for health care.
  • Do this as soon as possible as it only creates issues later on.

I think you can pay privately, though you still have to be registered, and I’m not sure that if you’re paying privately you get to cut the line or get appointments faster or anything like that.

IF you have a work visa- you get NHS. They might try to tell you that you don’t. You do. You, or your company, or SOMEONE is paying taxes here- you get NHS.

So besides finding out I can’t get in a same day appointment for a medical cetificate, I’m also annoyed that when I google my doctor NOTHING comes up. Not even a picture. And, I found it more than a little alarming that when I was on the phone making this appointment, I heard the other secretary on the phone having this conversation (obviously only one sided):

“Okay, you think you’re having a heart attack?”

“Right, and what’s your Surname and date of birth?”

“Well hold on one second let me get a doctor.”

A couple minutes go by….

“It will be just a few minutes sir, I’m trying to locate a doctor.”


There was no instruction to take an asprin or just the immediate- hang up and call 999. Seriously concerning….



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