I have been sick for a few days now and it just reminded me of all the things I simply hate about the Dutch healthcare system. It is expensive, slow, and not helpful, yet surrounded by white coats who will defend it until the last man standing. Actually, I think that doctors here spent the main part of their training learning how to defend their lousy system rather than to help people who are sick.
Individuals defending the Dutch healthcare system will first tell you in a bravo tone that it is one of the cheapest in Europe. These folks are either rich or lying, or probably both, in any case they are not worth of your trust. However, you are legally obliged to have a Dutch healthcare insurance if you want to work here. So you pay for it. True; the fact that everybody is paying for this healthcare disappointment may give you some comfort.
Then the white coats never cease to emphasize that The System is very accessible to everyone. Really? To be admitted to the hospital or to see a doctor other than your GP resembles a practice of approaching Judaism, for example. You ask to be admitted, then they reject you, and tell you to go home. That procedure is repeated at least three times after which you either give up and go home, or get in. However, even if you won the lottery and are allowed to see a doctor, it might very well be the case that the doctor is not going to do a thing. You see, it is fascinating how when it comes to the health, these usually rational and science appreciative people become pure hippies. So, even if you are in pain, apparently you should not get any medication because you first need to let “nature take its own course”. I do not know if nature functions differently here, but, in general, the course of nature is all of us dying. Not getting younger or healthier, unless you are another Benjamin Button. What medicine is supposed to do is to delay the trajectory to dead, which is why drugs were invented in the first place. A final point that Dutch healthcare devotees will tell you is that Dutchies are, allegedly, one of the healthiest people. This is a questionable claim. Who knows how many sick users of Dutch healthcare insurance are now back home waiting for “nature to do its thing”, or just in Belgian hospitals, where insurance costs are half of the full Dutch price?
As for me - thanks to the antibiotics from, of course, my private Eastern European stash - I finally feel better. And for you, hippies, while you gasp in disapproval, be kind to nature, you will for sure need it.
Irena Boskovic, PhD Candidate, FPN, Forensic Psychology Department