Bars or clinics? Different priorities in Spain and Taiwan

Adventist Hospital in Taipei

Spain is well-known for its amazing number of bars, which have little in common with those in the United States. They are establishments where people enjoy a coffee or a drink, but which also serve breakfast, lunch or dinner. Many offer a reasonably priced menu of the day.

In 2020, there were about 180,000 of them, one for every 175 inhabitants. Although in the last ten years more than 20,000 closed for good, it’s still the highest rate in the world.

How many of those will eventually survive the catastrophic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, further worsened by the way a totally incompetent coalition government of Socialists and Communists handled it?

I have already seen some going down and many more will follow, also due to high taxes as well as omnipotent and merciless Hacienda, the state agency which collects them, now allowed into homes without warrant.

At the same time, there are few practices and most of them are private. The sick tend to go to hospitals, clinics or dispensaries due to a lack of choice. Usually many patients wait for weeks or months and these days the process might take forever because of the sanitary crisis.

Concerning this habit, there are actually some similarities between Spain and Taiwan, even though for very different reasons. Regarding the latter, it’s definitely not for a lack of alternatives.

Interestingly enough, Taiwanese think that doctors working at a hospital, including the numerous public ones, are better qualified and prefer to see them for little aliments like a common cold.

It might be hard to believe for those who have never been to the island, though you get the impression that just like in Spain one can sit down at every street corner for a coke, a beer or a glass of wine, there are little clinics everywhere in Taiwan.

The National Health Service can only be considered excellent, as many surveys among expatriates and other foreigners living in Formosa clearly show. This makes life there extremely convenient.

Cues are quite rare and even a spontaneous visit to a hospital won’t take much of your time. While the efficiency is just amazing and the medical personnel generally very friendly, a high quality treatment is nevertheless guaranteed.

Spain has definitely become a country to spend your holidays or your retirement, where you relax in the sun on a nice terrace. Those who want to make a living here nowadays face almost insurmountable obstacles.

On the contrary, Taiwan allows you to get fast medical advice, according to your personal working schedule, and go on making money to be able to travel to the Iberian Peninsula.

This huge disparity indicates very different priorities. After two and a half years in Valencia, wasting so much time trying to get hold of physicians, I definitely know what’s more relevant to me!


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