I‘ve been having some ear aches and impaired hearing, so I went to the National Health Service doctor near my house. I have company-provided private health insurance but it only covers ER and hospital treatment and "your NHS professional" has to refer you in order to use it.
Before I could see the Doc, however, I had to register for the NHS by producing my passport and proof of residence, then wait two days. I was able to get an appointment quickly, though, on the third day. When I registered, I was given some "Practice Information", badly printed on a laser printer, with typos, that indicated that all doctor appointments are 10 minutes maximum.
I arrived for my appointment and was directed to the Waiting Room. The medical office was somewhat different than in the US, a bit cluttered, a bit shabby. Of course, my GP at home is in McLean, which explains a lot. I found the universal Waiting Room magazines and decor, except for the large scrolling LED sign that exhorted us to get our blood pressure checked and presented other health tips. When it was my turn, no nurse or staff called my name. No, the LED sign beeped loudly and summoned me by displaying "Mr. Hausman to Dr. Simspon’s office, 2nd floor". No staff person paid me the least attention, so I just got up and went upstairs.
The doctor’s office had a desk, computer, chairs, and examining table in rear but looked more like a home office than a professional medical office, which some might find reassuring. There was no separate examining room. The Doc wore a shirt and tie, no white lab coat, no stethoscope or other symbols of the MD. Mindful of the time limit, we got right down to it. He heard my complaint, looked in my ears and saw a wax build-up obstruction. He asked no questions about medical history, did not look in my nose or mouth, and didn’t ask about dental health (a big factor in many ear aches). What little we did say went right into the computer.
The Doc suggested I go to the drug store for ear drops that would soften wax (and presumably cause it to fall out) and that it might take a month to be effective! This despite my saying that it was painful enough that I couldn’t sleep on that side. No offer to remove it by syringing with water or mechanical means. Mentioned sending me to an ENT specialist at the hospital if situation unimproved (after a month?).
Zip, bing, done – elapsed time 8 minutes, no cute nurses, no paperwork describing treatment, no bill, no payment, no nothing else from anyone there. Goodbye, I walked out the door. Well, at least the Hippocratic Oath was observed: "First, do no harm".