Going to the Doctor

Today I needed to see two doctors: a GP and a dermatologist. Nothing serious, just standard stuff.

The GP’s office is 1 minute from my home by bicycle; the dermatologist’s 5 minutes. At both places I just walked in, no appointment. At the GP’s there was one person before me, so I waited 5 minutes; at the dermatologist’s there was nobody, so zero wait. At the GP’s I needed a general checkup, including an ECG, and it took 15 minutes. At the dermatologist I needed something looked at, and it took 5 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So within less than 1 hour after deciding to go see these two doctors (a decision I made only this morning), I was done.

I paid 4,000 yen ($35) at the GP’s, more than usual because he had to fill out forms for my health insurer abroad. I paid 3,300 yen ($29) at the dermatologist’s, which included medicine. Japan’s national health system has a co-pay element, which is a bit higher than in other countries, but much less than in most countries.

(By the way, last time I visited Israel I wanted to see a dermatologist. There are no walk-ins and the earliest appointment I was offered was 3 months away. I would have gladly paid $30 for an immediate appointment…)

While I wouldn’t necessarily trust Japan’s medical system for complicated stuff, for the regular day-to-day medical needs it is a very convenient and efficient system.

(This is a post in the series “Why Japan is the Closest Place to Paradise“)

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