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TO THE EDITOR:

(In response to “Causa Cobenzl”) The same tragedy is happening on Leopoldsberg. The cafe and church have been closed for eight years. There is now erosion, by “convenient access” and lazy, half-baked commerce, over the quiet, rustic charm of winding ancient walkways. A well earnt coffee or snack at the end of a rigorous, reflective walk was once the order of the day. The region is in the process of becoming a fun park.

Kind regards,
Brian Hatfield, Vienna

TO THE EDITOR:

It is little wonder that, as you report, many Austrians prefer to go straight to the emergency room rather than visit their local GP. In my experience, the customer service in GPs’ surgeries in Vienna is little short of disgraceful. The opening hours are bizarre, with many surgeries closed on some mornings or afternoons – and as for weekend opening, forget it. If you’re lucky enough to find your GP open when you feel ill, you still have to negotiate the challenges of ill-mannered receptionists and tiny airless waiting rooms that are a breeding ground for viruses, before you even get to see the doctor. At my son’s GP, they refuse to see you unless you’ve made an appointment – and then, when you turn up at the appointed time, you find yourself waiting for up to two hours, making you wonder why they forced you to make an appointment in the first place. Finally, instead of being given a Zahlschein so that you can pay the bill at your leisure, they insist on payment there and then, in cash, because they refuse to install a debit card machine. What a way to run a health service!

Richard Rees-Jones, Vienna

 

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You know, you don’t have to have permanent opinions. You can think, every morning, ‘I love the world’ and go to bed every night thinking‚ ‘I hate the world.’

Michel Houellebecq
French author (b. 1956)