We have been annual visitors, from New Zealand, to your paradise for 20 years now and will be coming back for years to come, God willing. I even subscribe to CINews so that I can keep up with what is happening in the Cook Islands in between our regular visits.
Our last visit was during the recent April school holidays.
Five days into our two week stay my wife woke up with a really bad throat infection which, with badly swollen glands, made it difficult for her to breath.
Unsure how to get to see a doctor I tried three or four doctor listings in the phone book but got no reply from any of them just after 9am.
In desperation I then phoned the hospital and explained our situation to a very helpful receptionist.
As per her advice we turned up at the hospital A&E Department around 9.30am, filled in a registration form and took a seat in the very busy waiting room.
Within 20 minutes she was seen by a nurse who did the triage work and another 20 minutes later were seen by a doctor.
A prescription for antibiotics was duly presented to the pharmacy in A&E and within another five minutes we were ready to go back to our wonderful studio unit accommodation at Vaimaanga.
I went to the reception desk to pay for our visit and a very apologetic lady said the consultation would be $20 and the medicine $10. She also apologised for the length of the wait she thought we had experienced.
I had to suppress a smile on two counts and assured her that any wait was negligible compared with how long we would have had to wait to see our GP at home, even with an appointment. I also expressed surprise at how much the fee was and as visitors couldn’t believe we were only asked to pay a total of $30.
I insisted on paying $100 with the balance being a donation to your health services. The receptionist at first said she couldn’t do that but I insisted and eventually prevailed. Even that was still cheaper than we would have had to pay to see a doctor when away from home in New Zealand.
Our whole experience with what must be a very stretched resource on your beautiful Island was only positive. All the people we dealt with during the morning were very professional and really helpful.
They made an uncertain experience into something very easy and reinforced why we have made Rarotonga our “go-to” holiday destination for many, many years.
So a huge “thank you” to everyone at the hospital involved in making sure that our holiday didn’t turn into a disaster.
Within a couple of days my wife was feeling much better and we thoroughly enjoyed the rest of our stay.
Bruce and Joy Kitto
Editor’s note: Yesterday I forgot I had a morning appointment at the hospital and missed it. I phoned to apologise and a very friendly and helpful receptionist told me to come up right away and they would organise a doctor to see me. I also experienced a relatively short wait and had excellent service from the doctor. So it’s meitaki maata from me, too.