I arrived at the dentist, a nicely decorated house with lots of magazines in the reception which I quickly got stuck into. It seemed like a family practice with a few kids milling around, and a few calls of zia/zio, plus a ten year old showed me to the waiting room.
When it was my turn the dentist briefly checked me over then I went into the other room where I waited for the hygienist as it was a cleaning which I wanted doing. I was really impressed with the cleaning, she did a really good job and the results are great. I need to go back just for a finishing off and a check up to see if I need any other work doing.
Then payment time came….. I politely asked the cost and if I were to pay now or next time. Asking the cost here can be like asking the person to pick a number between 1 and say a hundred, or draw a number out of a hat. No pricelists or anything law abiding like that. The cost for a check up and cleaning came to 70euro. Now, I’m happy with the results and care, so perhaps I shouldn't moan, but I do feel like I’ve paid more than anyone else – comparing with a few other people who’ve had this done in Italy and in England.
Of course I didn’t get a receipt, but then this is very common practice here in Italy, If you ask for a receipt then the price goes up. There was a report a few months ago about how dentists officially earn something like a 1000 euros a month in one area of Italy (can't remember where exactly) – based on what they declare. A part of me can understand them not wanting to give their money to Mr P, but then everyone else has to (well, should do), so why not them?
I have always avoided using doctors and dentists here as much as possible because I don’t completely trust them based on experience and I preferred to go back to England when I could, but it's increasingly difficult to do this. It’s so hard to go and have a decent visit and not be ripped off. My best example was when I went to an optician for an eye test for work, his price was 100 euro (no receipt) for taking max 5 minutes to confirm that I had perfect vision.
I’m sure good honest medics do exist, but they are hard to find...
When I got home after the dentist trip my OH said that he should have come with me as I probably would have been treated better, but honestly it can’t be that I have to be taken everywhere like a child just so that I’m not taken for a ride.