Spanish bureaucracy, part 2
2008/03/01 § 5 Comments
Here we go again… this time trying to get health care.
Though I have been here for a while and I have a residence and a social security number and I pay tax and I have a fixed job I have no right for healthcare. Officially that is. Of course I might get treatment (the so called “second way”; more about that later) but I do not have the necessary document to show that I am entitled.
But, since there is no automatism for these things in Spain it seems I have to go to a healthcare office and get a paper to show that I am entitled to get healthcare. In principle. In order to get that I have to have a paper with my social security number and time and patience.
After an hour or so I get to the desk. Turns out the paper they gave me at the entrance was the wrong one and they need entirely different info from me. But once the lady behind the counter has ripped the paper that took me hours to fill in (trying to translate the Spanish form with a “lilliput” dictionary takes time). She gives me a paper and luckz for me, a girl being served at another counter speaks some English. She explains that I need to got to another place (close to where I live) and show this paper in order to get a card that allows me to get treatment.
When I inquire where that place is, they write down another address in the same street and send me there (why not call them for me? I don’t know…). So, I wait there for 30 min. and then get the info where my personal place for healthcare is. So I go there, wait an hour or so and then again struggle in order to convince them that I should get this strange card and treatment. But they convince me that I am wrong and that I am supposed to have another paper first. This paper shows that I really live where I claim to live and I get it at the city council, which naturally is again somewhere totally different in town.
What was funny was that the lady (who was very kind I must note) called someone who speaks english. But instead of handing me the phone she wrote down on a paper what the other person said, hung up and then showed me the paper. Have you ever seen the way a Spaniard writes English if he or she does not actually speak English? It looks entertaining I can tell you… anyhow…
I went to the council place and waited 2 hours. When it was my turn of course I could not explain what I wanted but the lady seemed to guess what my aim was. But to my terror she told me that the contract, signed by the guy who rents the place, the other person who lives there with me and me is not sufficient to proofe that I live there. She would need the signature of the other person living there and a copy of her passport. Copy of passport is a big thing in Spain. As big as stamps and especially stamps with signature!
So, 3 days, more than 3 hours waiting time. Some 2 hours running and driving around, but no card yet.
In the end I went to my doctor (who speaks English which almost made me propose to him. Strange how you get when you are desperate!) and got treatment and drugs. I asked him how come that I get all that with my Swedish card, because usually they ask for papers (in the bureaucratic germany for example). But he explained that he was not in the mood to fill in papers. We would do it the “2nd way”. “The second way?”, I wondered. “Yes”, he explained, “there is the bureaucratic official way, which is the primary way to do things. But you should always ask for the second way. That is the unbureaucratic way. And if you are lucky and the other person has a good day, then you just forget about cards and papers and get what you need. Always at least try way number two”, he suggested.
Now I really wanted to marry him…
I still have no card- but now I know about the “alternative” way at least…