Friday, July 1, 2011

O false apothecary

Growing up with the good ole NHS, however you feel about it, means that when you move to a foreign country there's a period of adjustment to a new healthcare system.  Luckily for me and the Sand Warlock we're insured through his work but that in itself can take some getting used to. 

Visiting the doctor usually means you pay about 100dirhams for the appointment and everything else is covered by the insurance.  Dental treatment is a different matter as you pay up front and then recoup 80 per cent of the cost but only basic treatments are recoverable.   Anything cosmetic or preventative you have to stump up for yourself from what I can tell.

The result of this is there's a limit on how much you can claim for on your health insurance so for things that you wouldn't normally think twice about visiting the doctor for in the UK, you tend to go to the pharmacy first.  After all, they sell antibiotics over the counter in the UAE so it's possible you can bypass the quack altogether.  However, the pharmacies are probably the most stressful places to visit.

Generally speaking, chemists have a limited range of what's available in the UK plus some strange foreign stuff.  The real difference is teams of sales assistants stalk the floors and in the quieter ones, they ask what the problem is and try to convince you to buy the most expensive product, presumably because they're on some sort of commission.

I don't know about you, but when I visit the chemist, it's usually because I have something a bit odd going on.  In the heat that can typically mean some kind of infection, a strange skin or hair issue, things that I would much rather not discuss with a sales assistant who speaks limited English because I don't enjoy shouting things like: "Yes, it's really flaky, yes flaky, F - L - A - K -Y!" to all and sundry.  The way around it is to smile politely as they point you towards the most expensive thing in the shop (example, £40 for sun cream) then say: "Have you got anything else?" and they'll show you where the rest of the range that you don't need to remortgage the house to buy.  This is normally fine but when I went into a quiet pharmacy yesterday I had to say: "I'm fine, I don't need any help," to four different sales assistants and then finally stormed out in a huff when I was approached by a fifth. 

Oh, how I wished for a giant Boots or Superdrug with rows and rows of products of every description for me to browse in peace.  Luckily there is a medium-sized Boots in Dubai Mall which did the job.  I hate to say it but a little slice of home is what you need when you're under the weather.        

1 comment:

  1. Bit ironic really, when you think your last post was about covering healthcare :-)

    Hope you feel better seen, Immo x