Being in the UK, we have what you would call a single payer system. It has it's ups and its downs. Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and was in the OR the following day (three years clear now, thank God). Dad had to wait 4 years for his cataracts to be dealt with. It's a crap shoot.
Since waiting a week or so for an appointment is the norm, rather than the exception, I rarely bother the doctor (a close family friend) unless it is something serious. Well - I need an X-ray to check on how my shoulder is healing. Those have to be referred to the hospital by my GP. Not a huge problem, make an appointment, right? 5 minutes while she does the paperwork and we catch up on the family gossip on both sides and she tells me off for smoking too much.
Because I had not seen the doctor officially since 2006 - I had been dropped as a patient. Not just dropped, my entire medical file had disappeared completely. The operations, X-rays, allergies, physicals, blood work, vaccination records, prescription history, all wiped out by some bored clerk in the local HMO because I tend to be too healthy to see the doctor.
Sorry, just a very peeved vent.