Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Dubai’s case of specialist-itis

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Is it me, or is it getting increasingly difficult to see a GP in Dubai? I know there are a lot of people here who like to go straight to a specialist – to the paediatrician or the gynaecologist or the ENT specialist – without a referral, but I’m old-skool NHS: I’m happy to take my children’s fever, earache, vomity bug or rash to the GP rather than trouble the specialists about such routine matters.

Change her title and double her price - now that's a strategy for profit!

Change her title and double her price – now that’s a strategy for profit!

My local clinic, however, is making it increasingly hard to do that. Like those five-star Maldives hotels that upsell you the Presidential Villa while you’re on the boat to the island, my clinic always tries to upsell me a paediatrician’s appointment when I arrive to see the GP.

“No, I’m fine with the family doctor,” I tell the receptionist when she chews her pen thoughtfully and points out that the paediatrician has a spare appointment if I’d like it. My insurance is paying, so the extra cost wouldn’t come from my own pocket, but the shameless profiteering still brings me out in hives (maybe that’s the point – the dermatologist’s also got a free appointment).

So I see the family doctor I usually see. She’s as brilliant as she usually is. And when I come out, I’m handed the bill to sign, and I notice I’ve been charged the specialist fee, not the standard doctor’s fee.

“How come you’ve charged so much?” I ask the receptionist. “I saw the family doctor, not the paediatrician.”

“Oh,” says the receptionist. “The family doctor was promoted. She’s now Family Specialist.”

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