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  #21  
Old 05.05.2015, 21:53
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

Or, if you are not too far from the airport, there is always a medical center there, where you can walk in. As in the Netherlands you may have to wait for your turn :-)

If I have something, I just make an appointment there. The one here is open 24 hours for emergencies.
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  #22  
Old 05.05.2015, 22:32
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

I have the family doctor (GP) model, but if he's busy, my insurance has never blinked to pay the doctor downstairs (yes, there's one in our building).

And if neither is around, off to the hospital, 10 minutes away.

Tom
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  #23  
Old 05.05.2015, 22:44
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

btw some doctors have a studio in association, so if one is busy or in vacation there's always the colleague that covers for him, the service is much better this way IMHO
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  #24  
Old 05.05.2015, 22:46
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

You can see a specialist without needing to see a GP first.

If you want to see a GP and the first one you phone only has available appointments in September, then go to the next one in the phone book, and try again. Repeat these steps until you find a GP who can see you in reasonable time.

FWIW, the GPs we've had in Basel and Zurich were able to make appointments within reasonable time - if it was something urgent, the receptionist would normally find a slot for the same day.

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Nick
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  #25  
Old 06.05.2015, 12:34
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

In the end I managed to fix myself with lots of Ibuprofen, so it looks like I won't be needing a GP after all..

But I'll try to find a place with GPs where I can go the very same day when something is up. Some stuff just isn't really urgent enough to go visit the ER (in my opinion), but does require immediate attention (but not always from a specialist).
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  #26  
Old 06.05.2015, 13:23
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

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You can see a specialist without needing to see a GP first.
Check your insurance policy first. Some will insist you are referred by a GP or you inform their Telmed (or equivalent) team.
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  #27  
Old 08.05.2015, 17:29
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

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My wife doesn't have a GP. She goes and sees whichever specialist she thinks is appropriate. It's not that difficult to determine which specialist is the one you probably need. It's never happened that it's not been obvious; if it were, she'd find a GP (she doesn't like mine). But thankfully in Basel it's easy to see a doc at short notice, even if you're not registered already.
The point of having a GP, here, there or anywhere, is to do with the body and mind being one, and not just a sum of physical parts, a knee, a bladder, a brain- in isolation. Call it holisitic (or wholeistic, I'd say). Yes, you can usually determine which specialist to go to for a particular problem- but the rôle of the GP is to see the whole picture- and to ensure there is a strong thread between different specialist treatments, to keep you safe. Things are changing, but when OH used to be a GP, he used to follow whole families for the whole of their life, and knew about their background, and so much more- lots and lots of elements that could well impact the health of each member- and see isolated health problems or episodes as part of this family and with its own history- often in rural areas the extended family too. If the GP knows that your grandmother had diabetes, or your dad heart disease- it may well help in your treatment too.

A bit different in the UK perhaps, as GPs there have to have a minimum of 4 years post qualification training to become GPs- and many would see themselves as specialists in their own right. Whereas in Switzerland, any doctor can decide to become a GP without specific training. A schoolo friend of mine was an othopedic surgeon all his life but then decided to become a GP at 56- something which could never have happened in the UK (and to my mind not a good idea, as his experience was just too narrow).

Again, I'd say that to find a GP, introduce yourself and talk to her/him about you and your family and let her/him have a bit of a history- before any problems arise, is an excellent idea - that way, if you do need him or her- it will be much easier. Worth every penny.
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  #28  
Old 08.05.2015, 18:22
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

I am much in favour of a system where you at least have the choice to see a specialist directly, as my experience with Dutch gatekeeper GPs is far from positive. One following my husband's family 'their whole life' prescribed diarrhea medication for months for an undiagnosed case of Ulcerative Colitis without referral up to the point of emaciation and hospitalization. As to seeing 'the whole picture' he is treating symptoms that I suspect result from thyroid hormone imbalance with antidepressants and cardiac medication for the last 10 years. Considering the medical history of this person he should have referred to a endocrinologist a million times already. He put the same person on blood pressure lowering meds for years without ordering a 24 hr measurement while it is clearly a white collar effect. Unfortunately these members of the family were/are afraid to push for a referral or question a prescription because they do not want to 'ruin' their lovely life-long relationship with this GP. Sorry for going off topic but such system is disastrous for non-assertive patients.
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  #29  
Old 08.05.2015, 18:43
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

I am sorry you've had this experience. Impossible to comment on individual cases, of course, without knowing the full picture from all sides.

My post was not about 'gate keeping' - but about one doctor having the full and whole picture. However, the Swiss system of many patients going straight to specialist for minor ailments which just do not require specialist treatment, and those who shop around for 2nd, 3rd, and more opinions, with more and more tests and drugs which can be either dangerous (as regular unwarranted x-rays can be) or have contra-indications, etc (as in several doctors giving antibiotics not realising that the same patient has alreay had many courses recently, and much worse) - is a/hugely wasteful and expensive and not in the long-term interest of the patient in most cases (and not to the health services which are all in deficit)

Last edited by Odile; 08.05.2015 at 18:57.
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  #30  
Old 09.05.2015, 01:47
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

Regarding specialists, an anecdote from earlier this week. I turned up slightly early for my appointment and found this girl crying. She seemed to be rather unwell and was literally begging the practice manager/assistant/equivalent if she could get just 15 minutes to consult the doctor. The practice manager was telling her to go to the hospital instead as the earliest appointment she could give was in 3 weeks (and she was already their patient). I felt quite bad - I wasn't sure whether they would appreciate me offering my appointment.
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  #31  
Old 09.05.2015, 11:57
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

That seems so wrong. And of course we do not know why she wanted an app. for or whether it was urgent- hopefully the nurse/receptionist would have talked to her in private to see what was the problem- and would have fitted her in if the problem was serious, or if she was at risk in any way. Some people do make ridiculous requests for emergency apps or/ and night visits for no reason at all- as I have experienced in all my UK life- you would not believe some of the stories I could tell

In Switzerland, there is no law or rules regarding appointment times, and when a doctor is away, sick or on hols, they do not have to provide a locum at all, as they have to by Law in the UK on both fronts. She may have done- and ascertained that it was a minor non urgent issue (if not it is inexcusable).

What sort of specialist was it btw? (don't reply of course if you'd rather not). (it may for insance have been less serious if a dermatologist rather than a gyneacologist or psychiatrist, perhaps).

Last edited by Odile; 09.05.2015 at 13:31.
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  #32  
Old 09.05.2015, 12:51
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

To be fair, I can only state what I saw. Much later, the nurse/receptionist/assistant communicated this event to the specialist and that she directed her to the hospital. She seemed to be of the opinion that she should have gone there in the first instance.

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What sort of specialist was it btw? (don't reply of course if you'd rather not).
The specialisation or the seniority/reputation?
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  #33  
Old 09.05.2015, 20:08
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to have one physician who knows you and your history well, and who is willing to refer you to other providers when needed. Usually that is a GP. But not always. When i was having chemo, i saw my oncologist every week and he did some referrals for me. It's really tough on the patient to bounce around between docs, when you feel like crap.

As you get older, you're more likely to develop multiple issues, and a GP can help coordinate your care. But maybe it's not needed.

Specialists really do concentrate on the body part or parts or specific disease, so you might not get the best care. On the other hand a generalist might not be up to task, or they might have some ego issues with the specialist. And it's tough when you, as the patient don't feel well.
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  #34  
Old 10.05.2015, 00:08
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

I don't really know how it is in Geneva but it could be your local area causing congestion within practices, could also be the specific practice. Look around for better availability.

Generally, a GP is best to have registration to because whenever you go to a pharmacy for a prescription they will always ask you who your doctor is to check for a prescription in the system. Also helps for same reasons as other countries - GP is required for insurance related referrals to specialists - insurance sometimes won't cover the fees if you haven't been referred - as was the case this winter when I had an abscess - had to get referral to dentist from hospital as an emergency treatment.

Also a GP is the doctor who is supposed to know you best. Typically, the best practices are those which are smaller and contain staff who will remember you - makes for better future treatment
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  #35  
Old 10.05.2015, 01:14
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

I totally see the value of having a GP to oversee all the medical treatments someone's undergoing. In fact, I've had the very same GP for the last 22+ years and I was (and still am) very fond of him, so probably another reason why I'm a bit reluctant to find anyone else. (My former GP was really good and laidback at the same time, so they'd have some huge shoes to fill.)

I don't bond with people easily, so how does one go about finding a new GP? I don't feel like scheduling appointments to introduce myself, only to come to the conclusion they're not really 'the one' for me. That would be a total waste of their time (and mine).

And probably, for a lot of doctors, I'd make a horrible patient too...
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  #36  
Old 10.05.2015, 01:18
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

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I don't bond with people easily, so how does one go about finding a new GP? I don't feel like scheduling appointments to introduce myself, only to come to the conclusion they're not really 'the one' for me. That would be a total waste of their time (and mine).
Generally the best thing to do in this scenario is just go with whatever doctor seems to have the best rep in your area or canton. You won't truly get an idea of how a doctor is until you have seen them. I for example trust my GP without question.. Every time I have visited him he has attempted to speak english with me, he has always known what was wrong without any tests needed, even when i needed an operation. Old and grey but very knowledgable and capable. Best kind of doctor you can have.

Of course different people have different needs of a doctor. What I like may not be what you like, so again, visiting one is the only way you'll get to know and trust a new one.
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  #37  
Old 10.05.2015, 07:51
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

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What sort of specialist was it btw? (don't reply of course if you'd rather not). (it may for insance have been less serious if a dermatologist rather than a gyneacologist or psychiatrist, perhaps).
Gastroenterologist.



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I don't bond with people easily, so how does one go about finding a new GP? I don't feel like scheduling appointments to introduce myself, only to come to the conclusion they're not really 'the one' for me. That would be a total waste of their time (and mine).
I found the first one by chance. We contacted a GP who came highly recommended and was told he wasn't accepting new patients. But they forwarded me to a doctor who was new in the area and it worked out fairly well.

The second was by recommendation. I had another GP in between but realised that the second was far much better- thus, went back.
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  #38  
Old 10.05.2015, 08:11
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

In both cases I called the practice nearest to us, asked if the physicians spoke English, and they assigned one to us. It's pretty random, but we lucked out. I got a referral to my gyn from someone else and my gyn referred me to a new gyn when I needed surgery and she referred me to my oncologist.

Lots of my friends in Bern went to another gyn, but I liked the one I found better.

Maybe I'm not picky, I don't know.
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  #39  
Old 10.05.2015, 20:55
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

For things like sniffles, tick bites it's the GP. When I sprained my ankle 2 years ago, and had achilles problems before that, I went straight to the sport clinic. Accident Insurance paid for the former - including physio. Medical insurance paid for the latter.

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Check your insurance policy first. Some will insist you are referred by a GP or you inform their Telmed (or equivalent) team.
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Old 10.05.2015, 21:08
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Re: What's the point of having a GP in Switzerland?

It honestly depends on the type of insurance you have. If you have only basic for example, you're only covered for GP visits and hospital treatment, ergo the only way you'll get specialist treatments is if your GP or the Hospital says you actually need it - or the insurer would treat it as a chosen and maybe unnecessary treatment - especially if whatever treatment you was given could have been provided by a GP or Hospital.

Always good to check what you're covered for before hand. As far as I am aware all employers provide accident insurance too, so if it's an accident you can usually claim from them or the agency which you signed with. I have used this perk for an accident which broke my tooth and Axa Winterthur paid for it via my agency.
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