Back in the USSR?

Took my daughter Alva (11 years) to the dentist today. We had an early appointment, so left home in good time to make it. When we arrived at our local health centre, we were surprised by the long queue outside. It seemed that the doors were opened at 08:00 sharp – and not a minute earlier.

Funnily enough, the building was filled with people – we could see them through the glass doors, walking around. Occasionally they would throw us a casual glance, but nobody made the slightest move to open the doors. Not even when they saw an old lady leaning towards the wall. Apparently she had a hard time standing up straight, which makes sense, because (as Alva wisely pointed out) she was probably ill. Why else would she be queuing outside a health centre at 8 am on a freezing, dark December morning? Hardly for the fun of it.

Having lived in Sweden for some years and getting used to the good and fairly customer-oriented health care system there, this return to Finnish brutality felt like a cold shower. I had forgotten that some Finnish health care officials treat patients like the necessary evil – not like the (tax)paying customers they actually are.

The strangest thing was that nobody else in the queue seemed to mind. What’s wrong with that picture?

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