When I moved to Sweden just over two years ago, I was fortunate enough to not have to go to the doctor in my first year or so.
About a year in, I started to get a cold but then instead of actually getting sick, I just ended up having a congested nose for a few weeks. I had this constant dull pain in my forehead and under my eyes because of it. After a few weeks, it didn’t go away, even after I tried medication and vicks, so I decided to call Vårdcentralen to schedule a doctor’s appointment and see if there was something else I could try/do to get rid of the pain.
When I rang Vårdcentralen, I was told that I had to try medication (which I already did) and give it a few weeks, because they would not let me see a doctor before that.
The thing is, I had already waited a few weeks before calling them (I didn’t want to call a doctor straightaway if I could just let my body sort itself out).
Interestingly enough, I have a few friends who have had similar issues with the healthcare system here, including my friend Tania who describes her experience a little bit in this interview.
My advice for people who are moving to Sweden or have recently moved to Sweden and are looking to book an appointment through the public health care system is this:
Do not wait. Book an appointment as soon as you see symptoms.
From my experience, they’ll try to make you wait before they let you schedule an appointment, even if they let you schedule an appointment when you initially call: you may have to wait a few weeks to actually get an appointment. (even if you have complete flexibility in your timetable to schedule an appointment)