“Here I go again” I said to myself when the plane was taking off from Dublin to Edinburgh. Another relocation and hopefully the last one. Having to go through the process of registering with doctors, dentists, opening a bank account, finding a job, long term accommodation and such things can be a struggle sometimes. Even with all the moves I have made over the years, I must say I have never looked back on any of it. It’s been hard going at times but exciting to say the least. But I do feel though at this stage, that I want to settle somewhere but still be able to travel now and again.
I moved to Edinburgh about a month ago, registered with a good few job agencies and now it was the time to register with a doctor and open a bank account. When I was in Ireland I had my blood pressure checked and it was up a little bit but there was nothing to worry about. My doctor advised me to go on a small dosage of medication to help reduce the blood pressure and to get a few blood tests done but I didn’t want to have to pay for it if at all possible. A consultation with a doctor in Callan, my home town, costs €50 and you have to pay separately for each blood test which I was told was €25 a test. I couldn’t afford that while I wasn’t working and I decided that I’d wait to get them done when I went over to Scotland and hoped that I’d be able to get them done on the NHS.
I’m living in Leith in Edinburgh and I phoned the Lothian Health Board to see if there were any GP practices in my area that were accepting new patients. There was one in Leith and I explained my situation to them about getting the blood tests done but that I had a temporary address. To be able to register me as a patient this particular practice told me they needed a photo ID and two letters as proof of address: a council tax letter, a utility bill, a bank statement or something similar and a fourth option which I can’t remember. I told them that my address was only temporary and that it could be two or three months before I found my own place and could provide the letters as proof of address.
Another option I had was to register as a temporary patient, but for that I needed a European Health Insurance Card, which provided discounted or sometimes free temporary medical treatment for state medical services, if you’re living in any one of the EEA countries: European Economic Area or Switzerland. I would have needed to apply for that from Ireland though before I came to Edinburgh. I didn’t know about that card unfortunately. Otherwise my last option was to pay for the doctor’s fee: £70 and for each individual blood test. I didn’t want to do that either.
I called the Lothian Health Board again and explained my situation to them about my temporary address and they said they would send me an Assignment Form to fill in. The assignment process is designed for patients who are unable to register with a local GP practice in the routine way. When the form is filled in and sent back to the Health Board, they send the form to the new practice and instruct them to add my details to the GP system. I should also receive a medical card within five working days showing my new practice. I sent off the form and hopefully I’ll get assigned to a GP soon.
Regarding opening an account with a bank…….well that hasn’t been the easiest either. I know there are banks that do everything online and via telephone but I’m the old fashioned sort and like the people contact in case things go wrong. The HSBC bank was recommended to me by two friends of mine, so after checking out their accounts and conditions etc I decided I’d open a bank account with them. Now because I have a temporary address it’s difficult to open a bank account with any bank, because like the doctor’s, they need proof of address such as a council tax or a utility bill which I won’t have for a while. The HSBC said they would accept a letter from my employer or recruitment agency stating that I’m working through the agency, with my temporary address on it. I was able to provide that but when I went in to open the account HSBC said they needed more detailed information in the letter.
I started a temporary administration job last week through Hays recruitment agency and they provided an assignment confirmation for the bank but my recruiting consultant hadn’t put their contact details on it, hadn’t signed it, hadn’t dated it and it was missing other things too which the bank needed. So I have to ask the company I’m working for to provide this letter in order to open an account and get paid. There could be a week’s delay on the payment of my first week’s wages because I couldn’t open the bank account but I guess I’ll have to wait for it.
So things haven’t been simple but it could be worse. At least I’m working and there should be some money coming in soon. I’m still looking for both long term temporary or permanent reception work and am hoping eventually to get work in the tourism industry. Fingers crossed 🙂