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Faster than a speeding bullet

Because we are live permanently in Alicante, which is part of Valencia, our free health care is provided through the Valencian Health Authority. We can get emergency cover anywhere in Spain but in order to get cover for routine access to doctors and other medical services here in Murcia we need to go along to our local health centre every three months and renew a "displacement order."

When we came back to Cartagena in September we renewed the dispalcement order and for some unknown reason the cover was only extended into October. My order ran out yesterday and as the form can only be renewed on Thursdays we went to do the renewal first thing this morning.

There was one person in front of us. He seemed to be renewing his health card which is a very routine procedure. It took 20 minutes for the dozy looking clerk to deal with him.

When we got there it turned out that Maggie's form expires on 30th October so they turned her down flat. Bizarrely my form, renewed on the same day by the same person, ran out on the 27th. He tried to send me away too but when I finally convinced him that today is the 28th not the 26th he tried again. Then he tried to tell me that my Valencian Health Card was out of date. It isn't, it doesn't have a "sell by" date but he'd entered one on his computer records and that was where the trouble lay. Finally, another twenty minutes later I had my temporary cover.

There were seven people behind me in the queue. If he maintains his work rate and doesn't have to go off for breakfast the last person in that queue will get away from the counter in just under three hours.


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