Visiting the Centro de Salud is a real eye opener for anyone used to the relative calm of a doctor's surgery in Britain. Outside each doctor's consulting room is a list which shows their appointments for that day. You would expect people to keep to that list but no. Each appointment is timed to last five minutes. Inevitably as the day goes on the times may vary. In theory, if you can identify the person just before you on the list you follow them in. That doesn't always work though because people arrive late and still expect to be seen. Others arrive early and want to jump in ahead of the queue. The trick, if you want to jump the queue, seems to be to either stand or sit as close to the door as you can and as it starts to open you push your way in. As you might expect this method can cause the occasional argument to break out but that only adds to the din created by loud conversations that are already being conducted across the room.
At least one part of the system has been streamlined though. You no longer have to go down to the Centro to book an appointment because you can do this online by going to Solicitad de cita. The information you need is your SIP number and your date of birth. You then choose the date and the time for your appointment and book it. All you have to contend with then is the actual appointment.