My S1 ( a form obliging Spain to look after me medically. It’s an EU thing !! ) arrived from England with my OAP pension details in December 2011. I went to reception of the medical centre in the “big city” of Cortes de la Frontera to ask where I should go to process my S1. Reception was a room full of 30 waiting “Andaluth” women all shouting and no-one listening, with one receptionist. I eventually found who was last to arrive before me and waited. The pretty receptionist with big….heart… told me that she could initiate the process there and then. Took photocopies of all my docs and S1, gave me a stamped form in lieu of my forthcoming Spanish Health Card. Five months later, no health card. So I returned to reception and went through the same agonising wait. The pretty receptionist with the big….heart….could not find me on the computer. So, she photocopied all my docs and S1 AGAIN and gave me another stamped form. Then I had to go to the doctor in Estacion Cortes de la Frontera for the first time.
The doctor comes twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays at 12 noon one has to go to the Estacion town hall to get a numbered ticket to see the doctor for the following day. So with ticket #8 I saw the doctor who could not find me on his computer. He eventually found me, saying something was wrong, then initiated the process for me to see a specialist at Ronda hospital. A month ago I received two letters from Benaojan medical centre ( where the doctor comes from ).
Let us assume that my name is Adam Baker Charlie DUCK. The first letter contained a warning that I would receive a communication from Ronda hospital and the name on the letter was to Duck Adam Baker CHARLIE. The second letter addressed to Adam Baker Charlie DOCK asked me to go to Benaojan medical center with my passport and European Health Card ( never ever had one ) within 7 days or I will have to pay for treatment, because there was problem with my name. No, who would have guessed !!
I contacted a friend who had been through the correct process, who took me by the hand, bypassing Benaojan and took me to Ronda Social Services. Scattering all my documents over his desk and throwing his hands in the air and shaking his head, the receptionist man reinitiated the process. Photocopied all my documents AGAIN. Neither of us could understand what he was saying, but we thought that all the paperwork went to Malaga and I should receive a communication in 20 days.
In fact I did. My documentation was now at the same point as my friend’s who had started his process of getting a card in May of this year. So, this morning, my friend, his wife and myself entered our local medical centre. After 45 minutes of tutting and grimacing by the male receptionist my two friends are now proud possessors of papers in lieu of their card. It took me 3 minutes to get my piece of paper as he had had practice with my friends. The cards should arrive in the post within a month.
At the same time as my friends were being processed, my friend’s wife had to have a tetanus vaccination. She had pricked her finger on a cactus a few weeks earlier and the finger ballooned. She was immediately given a tetanus shot. It was time for her follow up shot. She leant across to the other receptionist and gave her a pile of papers pertaining to being shot again. The other receptionist stood up in amazement, for in amongst her papers was a receipt for a tetanus shot from an animal doctor. It seems that one of their cats had a tetanus shot by a vet and the receptionist thought that the vet had vaccinated my friend’s wife !!!
So the moral of this tale is that if you are coming to live in Spain for the Sun, Sea, Sex and Sangria (I haven’t got passed the Sun stage !) forget it, as it’s Paperwork, Photocopier, Pandemonium and Patience.
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