A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

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Random Dude
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A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by Random Dude » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:27 pm

Hello Guys!
I just returned from a visit to my local terveysasema today and I was so shocked by my experience that I felt I needed to vent a bit and share my experience.

Actually, I would like to add a very odd experience in the same health station from six months ago first. So, I agreed over the phone to come in for a STD test. When I showed up I walked to the Info desk to enquire on where I should go for the blood and Urine test appointments. Well, as soon as I walked to her and said "Hello", I received a very cold and agressive "I do not speak English" with a perfect english pronunciation. I was more annoyed by her misdemeanor in her reply and I thought it was very odd for someone working in a general info desk of a public healthcare to be so agressive in her response to point out that she cannot speak english. Anyways, I speak some Finnish and we resolved the matter and I did not think much of that encounter, and just thought she is perhaps not having a good day.

Now, fast forward today, I called and arrived to the healthstation as I have been down for the last few days with a very bad flu and fever. I even started seeing blood on my mucus while sneezing and coughing, and thought a visit to the hospital would be a good idea. Also, I had been off for a few days with self notification but if I would be out of work for coming days then I needed a sick leave note. Anyways, I pick up a waiting number and I am immediately called to the nurse counter with a glass window. I thought it was wierd but I told her that I would like to see someone. She tells me to just tell her the symptoms and I tell her that I have been down with a fever for 4 days now and bad flu with violent coughing all through the night. She asks me what my Fever was and I tell her that I do not have a thermometer at home and haven't been able to check. She then angrily says I should know my Fever before claiming to have Fever. I told her once again that I do not own a thermometer and hence, I am here. She then changes the topics and asks if I need a sick leave note, and prints me a note with another 3 days off work. she tells me that I can go home and rest. Now, I am aware that with a flu there is nothing much a doctor/nurse can do, other than ask you to take rest and drink a lot of water. We all get down with a flu every year and receover, but I have been having very strong and harsh symptoms. So, I tell her I have been coughing blood in my mucus, my throat is all swollen up and I haven't been able to sleep well for few days now because of fever and violent coughing all night long. She just tells me that this is normal and that I do not need to visit anyone, and I just need to go home and rest, through her glass window.

As much as I am aware that in a case with flu, there is nothing much a doctor or nurse can do than to ask you to take rest and keep yourself hydrated. But considering I have been having extreme symptoms and that I am already at the hospital, could you atleast take a look? Maybe prescribe me something to help with the violent coughing and my swollen throat? I do not want a healthcare experience through a glass window counter where someone is not even bothered to physically take a look at you, when you have been bed ridden for 4 days and literally coughing blood at times.

Funny thing is, I know of a lot of friends who use private healthcare because of a bad public health care experience. I have always defended public health care and I have no problem waiting for appointments unless it is a serious emergency. I do not consider my situation today a serious emergency and like the nurse suggested I know I will feel better with enough rest over time. I still believe in Public health care system and that it is the best thing that Finland has to offer. Infact I am willing to bear an increase in my taxation, if it is going towards improving the healthcare system. In a country like Finland which is used as an example all over the world on universal health care, a person at info desk should be able to help patients in a major language like english, a sick person should not be handed over sick note over a glass window. Now, this may just be an isolated incident but I am having such a horrible week and to my surprise the health station managed to make it worse. I believe for a health station that should be a very low bar to overcome.



A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

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rinso
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by rinso » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:49 pm

a person at info desk should be able to help patients in a major language like english
I'm not sure if it is in their function description. If not it's up to them if they will do so.
My experience is that many don't (want to) speak English, but they are friendly and try to help.
a sick person should not be handed over sick note over a glass window
At least the glass gives them some protection against you spreading germs.
As you said, there is little else they can do, so why should they?


heretostay
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by heretostay » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:00 pm

The pharmacy can give you medicine without a prescription to help with the symptoms. Absolutely no reason to visit a doctor.

English is not an official language in Finland so service in any language other than Finnish or Swedish, while helpful, is definitely not required to be available. Private clinics can serve you in English language but even then you need to reserve a time with a practitioner that is proficient in the language.


Upphew
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by Upphew » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:43 pm

Random Dude needed tea and sympathy and didn't get either from health center.
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SecretCode
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by SecretCode » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:07 pm

Are either tea or sympathy in the defined function of the terveysasema?
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Random Dude
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by Random Dude » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:44 pm

rinso wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:49 pm
a person at info desk should be able to help patients in a major language like english
I'm not sure if it is in their function description. If not it's up to them if they will do so.
My experience is that many don't (want to) speak English, but they are friendly and try to help.
a sick person should not be handed over sick note over a glass window
At least the glass gives them some protection against you spreading germs.
As you said, there is little else they can do, so why should they?
I am not one of those entitled brats who expects a service in english in a foreign country. English isn't my native language either. But I just feel that it is a good idea, in a growing multicultural city like Helsinki with a huge immigrant population, that a crucial service place like Healthstation, a person at an info desk should be willing to provide service in English. I do not expect every member of staff to speak English, heck! I do not even expect a person at info desk to speak fluent english but a staright up " I do not speak english" from a person at info desk is just not a good norm. I do not see the tax office returning people because oh well, we do not speak english. This is about basic human decency to make healthcare accessible to residents.

And yes, I said there is likely not much they can do about the flu. But when someone is at the hospital with severe symptoms, the least a helath professional could do is take a look. I can't wait till the next time you get severly sick and get a diagnosis over a window counter. Let me know and I will be happy to invite to you over for some Tea & Sympathy. :lol:


Random Dude
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by Random Dude » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:58 pm

heretostay wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:00 pm
The pharmacy can give you medicine without a prescription to help with the symptoms. Absolutely no reason to visit a doctor.

English is not an official language in Finland so service in any language other than Finnish or Swedish, while helpful, is definitely not required to be available. Private clinics can serve you in English language but even then you need to reserve a time with a practitioner that is proficient in the language.
Why is it that everytime someone posts something about a bad experience here, you are treated as an ignorant crazy foreigner who complaints about everything. I personally can manage with my Finnish at these health stations. I have been in Finland and working for over 6 years now. I wouldn't have been able to manage without English 3 or 4 years ago. and there are thousands of tax paying residents of Helsinki right now who are entitled to a public healthcare service, and are not in a comfortable position to discuss these matter in Finnish/Swedish. Isn't it ethically wrong for a person at info desk of a health station to deny service? Yes, the person maybe legally allowed to do this but that doesn't make it right. and who knows, if enough people face these issues such issues will be part of the law.


Upphew
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by Upphew » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:47 am

Random Dude wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:58 pm
Isn't it ethically wrong for a person at info desk of a health station to deny service?
Afaik that is their job: to get rid of people with regular cold as they can't do anything to that.

You should give some feedback about your experience. And also get a thermometer.

Btw, how your experience should have gone if everything would have been perfect?
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jarikaija
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by jarikaija » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:42 am

Upphew wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:47 am
Random Dude wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:58 pm
Isn't it ethically wrong for a person at info desk of a health station to deny service?
Afaik that is their job: to get rid of people with regular cold as they can't do anything to that.
In fact, they COULD do something for that. At Thailand and even at USA
are suitable pills for coldness & flu symptoms. Those pills worked like a charm.
And you can buy those from regular pharmacy without a recipe.
BUT, finland... whoaaa...Those kind of pills are behind doctor.
Can't buy freely from pharmacy without recipe. And doctors normal
answer nowadays is always:

"Take a burana and if it doesn't help, take another one".

Old days that pill was an aspirine.

Finnish "free" (what it is not!) healt care is a big joke!


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network_engineer
Posts: 667
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by network_engineer » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:40 pm

Random Dude wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:27 pm
I just returned from a visit to my local terveysasema today and I was so shocked by my experience that I felt I needed to vent a bit and share my experience.
The OP is free to vent, people have different experiences. Finland has some really good sides, but some topics are very poorly handled.
Random Dude wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:27 pm
She then angrily says I should know my Fever before claiming to have Fever. I told her once again that I do not own a thermometer and hence, I am here.
You should have given her a clear clean feedback, right there, and pointed it out in no uncertain words.
jarikaija wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:42 am
Finnish "free" (what it is not!) healt care is a big joke!
Yes, you are right. People are waking up! See the discussions in Finnish on the reimbursement on medications, e.g. pcsk9 inhibitors (korvaukset). You'd re-think if the taxes are worth it!
Random Dude wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:58 pm
tax paying
As I said, people are waking up. Here in the Nordics there seems to be some weird indoctrination that paying taxes is a moral obligation. It is not. It is merely money in exchange for services, i.e. money in exchange for healthcare, safety, security, education for my children, and the like. NOT for taxi rides (subtly said). No services/ lack of quality, no money! I recently read about it... was it in Spain, that the guy is "crowdthinking" what politics and policies should be.
heretostay wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:00 pm
English is not an official language
Correct! But strange how they flash the English language badges at the tax offices! Wait, so need more hints?

Anyway My own experiences have been both great and bad with the medical system. Great(est) when I used to live in a small village 60 kms. north, and the lous(ier) in the capital region as such but then again with a very specific doctor. Both private/ public have had challenges.

Usually the doctors and nurses are quite good, polite and helpful - and caring, in fact most are. Then again, some of them are there because they wouldn't get a job anywhere else. And then there are those that have been in the same position for the last 30 years and will be there for another few years. Discussions on SOTE have not helped either, since the frowning faces will have an impact on the customer who can choose to take his care services elsewhere.

If it was me: Blood in the mucus, I would ask for an infection (CRP) and blood haemoglobin test. On the other hand, it could just be that your sinuses are inflamed because of the dry air indoors. I had similar issues, and I'd under advise get a nasal moisturiser, maybe an oil based one. Please don't consider it as medical advice, I just told you what I did! :)


Upphew
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by Upphew » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:55 pm

jarikaija wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:42 am
Upphew wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:47 am
Random Dude wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:58 pm
Isn't it ethically wrong for a person at info desk of a health station to deny service?
Afaik that is their job: to get rid of people with regular cold as they can't do anything to that.
In fact, they COULD do something for that. At Thailand and even at USA
are suitable pills for coldness & flu symptoms. Those pills worked like a charm.
And you can buy those from regular pharmacy without a recipe.
Yup. And even there you should not use pills or inhalers unless you are in the risk group. Webmd suggests that the antiviral stuff is prescription medicine, but I might be wrong. And if antivirals are available willynilly in Thailand, I'm not at all surprised why the avian flu started there. Resistant viruses are scary.
jarikaija wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:42 am
BUT, finland... whoaaa...Those kind of pills are behind doctor.
Can't buy freely from pharmacy without recipe. And doctors normal
answer nowadays is always:

"Take a burana and if it doesn't help, take another one".

Old days that pill was an aspirine.
That should be the answer. Antiviral drugs help with flu by reducing the time you have flu by... 1 to 1½ days. That might be critical for elderly or other risk groups, but not for normal people. Especially as then there will be more resistant strains and then there will be no remedy for weak.

Best would be to take the flu shot every year if possible.
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Upphew
Posts: 10247
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Re: A very dissapointing public healthcare visit! Is this the standard of public health care service?

Post by Upphew » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:01 pm

network_engineer wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:40 pm
If it was me: Blood in the mucus, I would ask for an infection (CRP) and blood haemoglobin test. On the other hand, it could just be that your sinuses are inflamed because of the dry air indoors. I had similar issues, and I'd under advise get a nasal moisturiser, maybe an oil based one. Please don't consider it as medical advice, I just told you what I did! :)
Oil based nasal spray and flushing nose with water... those did wonders to me. I also seem to react well to the placebo effect of zinc and c-vitamin tablets when I get the first symptoms.
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