Archive for March, 2007

A cupboard experience

March 31, 2007

My first contact with the health service was when I had to register with a GP* after moving to London. I called NHS Direct** and they gave me the name of a GP Surgery in my area.

I went to the surgery a sunny day in August. The surgery was a box room with bars on all windows. It was very small, had carpets which is a big no no for me. It shouldn’t be allowed in surgeries/hospitals for obvious reasons.

The surgery didn’t feel as sterile as I want a surgery to feel. I want it to smell of disinfection and that all the staff wear white, at least.

I was asked to fill in a form and then have a full health check up before I could register with the surgery.

When my name was called out I was led in to:

A. a box
B. a consultant room
C. a cupboard

And the right answer is: C.

A CUPBOARD!

There was just enough room for two chairs. It was so bizarre to have to sit there answering questions and having my blood pressure taken and pretend that nothing was wrong, like it was a very normal thing to sit in a cupboard with a nurse on a sunny day in August.

I left the place with one thought in my head: I will NEVER go back!

Back home I phoned NHS Direct again. They gave me another address and I went to register myself with a new Surgery. I was told off by the GP when I explained my reason as to why I wanted to change GP (weird cupboard experience). The GP gave me a lecture about NHS budget. Whatever! It’s my health!

My first job in England was at a hospital. During my first week at work it started to rain as it does quite over here. And due to the rain, water started to come in through the floor. A few centimetres of water of the top of the carpet and a horrible drain smell.

Naive Swedish me expected at least that part of the hospital to be closed but no, nothing was done. Absolutely nothing.

The next day the water had subsided leaving a horrible smell. You could see marks on the carpet from where the water had been. It was still very wet.

And the measure: Air Freshener – your friend in need!

After a few other incidents, which I won’t share with you, I got private health insurance. I do have my reasons believe me.

The only thing is now we get hospital treatments like 5 star hotels and I don’t really need that. We get tanned surgeons in pink shirts and perfect white smiles. I mean I’m fine with a nice white, clean hospital without carpets.

I don’t need plasma TV (with SKY of course), dinner selection, slippers, robes, hair driers, wardrobe and a safe (for my millions) and Molton & Brown goodies in my very own bathroom. But if I have to choose I would choose private without a doubt.

And may I add that the only company I’ve come a cross with excellent customer service is BUPA (private health insurance company). Big Swedish kiss to BUPA!

And without being too personal and giving too much information (I do apologise): ladies you know the chair that we don’t like so much. Well they don’t have them here but they do have a bunk and a desk lamp.

FYI: the chairs do have a purpose its not just all about the fun.

* Husdoktor
** Sjukvårdsupplysningen

I’m going to Sweden

March 11, 2007

Things I’m going to do when I’m in Sweden:

• Have (proper) showers
• Use the tube
• Talk on my mobile whilst using the tube
• Eat lots of ‘grillad med mos*’
• Have lovely breakfasts including filmjölk** and limpa (bread)
• Be indoors without being cold
• Sleep and not be woken by traffic
• Meet my lovely friends & family who I miss dearly
• Eat lots of sweets especially salty liquorices
• Say Sundkvist without having to spell it
• Miss Nick

*Like bangers and mash, but not really
** It’s what Swedes eat their cereal with. It’s like thick milk almost like yoghurt

Bank letter

March 10, 2007

I received a letter today from HSBC confirming that my pension scheme has now been processed. It also says that they “expect to receive a payment of £285.60”. WELL I DON’T THINK SO!!

Just sent angry e-mail to the bank man asking for an explanation. If they have messed up again I will change bank completely but I’m guessing that will take another 6 months.

AGHHHHHHHH!!! I’m just trying to plan for my future I’m going to die of a hart attack soon so I won’t need a pension.

Commuting

March 10, 2007

I haven’t written for a while, I’ve been stuck in traffic!

You know those old Victorian water pipes I was talking about; they are under every road my bus to work goes on. Commuting in London is something I wasn’t at all prepared for and something I never will get used to.

I live quite central and work very central. On a good day it takes me 1 hour to get to work and on a bad day it can take up to 2 hours. Fun! FYI I’m not walking to work but I wish I could. I used to have a job that I could walk to and it was totally bliss!

When I first moved to London I used the tube to get to work. I soon found out that so did 3 million other people as well. 3 million! And they are all in the same carriage!

The population of Sweden is only 9 million.

Everyday I arrived at worked stressed. I even had high blood pressure for a while. A normal morning would start with a walk to the tube station and if I was lucky I would be able to get down to the platform. If I was unlucky I had to queue outside the tube station on the pavement. It’s quite common for the underground staff to stop people going down to the platforms as the platforms get overcrowded.

When I made it down to the platform it would be packed and when the tube arrived it was also packed. Absolutely packed. No way of getting on as people were falling out when the door opens.

I soon learned that you have to squeeze yourself in to the carrier even if it looks impossible otherwise you would never get to work, ever! Thank god I’m slim.

So me and some other people squeeze ourselves in to the already packed carrier and the door closes and off you go. Lovely to have someone’s sweaty back rubbing against your own or a bad morning breath in your face. Really a great start to your morning. And for f**k’s sake stop reading your paper – THERE IS NO ROOM!!!

I was sure that no one else could get on but I was so wrong. At the next stop another overcrowded platform and more people wanting to get to work. And somehow people manage to squeeze in. The doors close and someone faints.

Someone is always fainting and don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for you. People will get angry with you for fainting and making them late for work. You will be encouraged to bring lots of water when you are traveling on the tube to stop you from fainting and stop you from interrupting 3 million people traveling to work.

You could install Air Conditioning on the tube, it would be quite nice. But let’s not! Apparently the underground people say they can’t. What do they mean they can’t? Of course you can! People can fly to the moon I’m sure installing Air Conditioning on a tube is not that hard! I know of a country where they have air condition on the tube…

So I learnt that 3 million wouldn’t stop traveling to work with me so I gave up and took the bus to work instead.

London is a very, very big city. I take 2-3 buses to get to work everyday and there is always roadworks going on somewhere. Trust me there is always some old water pipe that needs to be replaced. It just takes me forever to get to work and I hate it that I spend at least 2 hours on the bus everyday. What a waste!

FYI your mobile phone doesn’t work on the tube. Well I can’t say I’m that surprised.

The meeting

March 4, 2007

I’ll tell you what happened at the meeting with the bank:

The bank man was late and he only works 5 min away from my office. He brought 2 forms with him, one for me and one for my finance manager. The forms could have been sent to us, which would have saved us all time. He filled it in for for us. WOW! That makes up for all the mistakes.

I think the real reason he came, was to sell their pension scheme to the company. FYI it didn’t work. Like I’m ever going to recommend HSBC pension to anyone.