I’m continually impressed by the level of healthcare you can get abroad if you do your research ahead of time. It’s perhaps a slightly western/xenophobic comment to state surprise; so let me qualify it. The particular aspects that surprise me are:
- The level of English encountered. Communication is a big deal when it comes to life and limb; even when you’re dealing with native English speakers. It’s natural to have some hesitancy when you doctors first language isn’t English. But so far communication hasn’t been too huge an issue when dealing with doctors (can’t say the same for nurses).
- The cost. I’ve always paid less than I would back home, and received better care.
- Speed of treatment. I think this relates to my main experience of healthcare coming from the UK’s national health service. I’ve become accustomed to waiting for everything. If I had private health care in the UK then my standards may be higher.
So this trip I’ve made a visit to the ophthalmist (eye doctor) and the dentist.
Really impressed. Discovered a small bump on the white of my eye, and got worried about it. Visited Chiang Mai Ram hospital, and within an hour I’d seen the nurse for basic tests (weight, blood pressure etc.) and seen the specialist for a consultation. For the grand total of 394 baht ($12). And to her credit, she came up with the same diagnosis as I did through Googling… a pingecula. The doctor had great English and completely understood when I didn’t want her to write a prescription for eye drops (and instead just wanted the name of the product, should I wish to purchase it later). Not pushy at all. Came away re-assured at having got a medical professional’s opinion.
Having had problems with my teeth in the past I like to stick to the prescribed 6monthly check-ups! I’m headed to California soon, and I’d imagine their dental system is a little more expensive than Thailand, so makes sense to take care of things while I’m here.
The trip cost 1200 baht ($38) total for the check-up and clean. Might be more with X-Rays but I didn’t want any. Have to say, I don’t know what the UK dentists I’ve had are doing with their teeth cleans, but this seemed way more thorough. They usually just whisk round the mouth and get me out the door, but here the dentist really took their time and worked on each tooth individually. As you would probably hope they’d do, but prior it hasn’t been the case.
A clean back in England is around £50, and NHS dental check-up £18.50. So it was approximately a third of the price! The cost savings are nice, especially since I’ve been travelling for 5 months without income, but ultimately I’d rather not pinch pennies when it comes to health. It’s far more important to have good care – and fortunately thats also been the case!