Still loving Danish public health service

Yesterday I was reminded why I wrote this piece in The Local in 2015 about private vs public healthcare in Copenhagen.


After a long wait whilst the doctors decided if I needed an MRI scan with the state of the art machine at Rigshospital, I was given an appointment for a scan a couple of weeks ago. I understand the decision process surrounding it. One scan in the machine is not cheap so there must be a medical need for it.

Last summer I had a MRI scan at a private clinic and although the appointment times were more convenient and radiographer was competent, the experience wasn’t as good as the one yesterday. At the private clinic I lay in the scanner and just listened to the loud noise until the scan was done. I had no idea when it would be over and at what points I could wriggle my fingers. The scan takes up to an hour and that is a long time to lay still. I can’t recall being given ear defenders either. The scan was inconclusive.

At Rigshospital I was called in well before my appointment time as I arrived early. I was asked to change and leave my stuff in a locked changing room. The staff were polite and efficient. I was given ear defenders and they gave me an emergency buzzer to hold in my hand. Before each cycle of scans, I was told though my headset how long the section of scanning would take (anything from 1 minute to five minutes) and when I could stretch and move. Anyone who has had an MRI scan know it isn’t the most comfortable experience especially if you feel a little claustrophobic.

I was given an injection of contrast half way through and I was warned it could make me feel a little nauseous later on. Once the scan was over and the pleasantries dispensed with, I headed back to the changing room. I was a bit slow in there as I felt a little sleepy and was checking my messages when there was a knock on the door and the radiologist wanted to check I was OK.

Add to that how clean the hospital is, how helpful the staff are (not just this time but other times too), the general positive environment around you from hearing the orderlies chatting to patients to the public art installations. I still believe you can’t match this experience in the private sector.

I now have to wait and find out if this king of MRI machines has seen anything significant but overall the experience was much better than the private one.


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