The answer is no (in the UK). In the UK there isn’t the figure of the pediatrician in the sense we Italian are used to have with our babies, a steady referral that at scheduled terms checks their growth and a unique doctor they will meet till the age of 14. My eldest son Andrea (born in Italy) had been visited from his pediatrician at least monthly since he was born. Leonardo, my little one, born in London, had never met one so far and he is already ten weeks old and probably he will never see one unless for an emergency or a specialist visit. The reason is that in the UK pediatricians generally operate in hospitals, if your baby needs a visit through the NHS (National Health Service), he will be seen by a generic doctor for adults, a GP, a general practitioner.
GPs usually work in practices as part of a team, which includes nurses, healthcare assistants, practice managers, receptionists and other staff. This means that you probably will have been visited by different persons every time you need. GPs are for free, you will be asked only for a proof of address (council tax bill or a bank account for instance) because you have to be in the boundary area.
I want to say something about the national health service here in the UK. I am from Italy, where there is a national health system too, however I usually pay tickets (a fee) for everything, medicines included and whenever I needed for a specialist urgent visit I had to go to a private doctor. Here in the UK the service is quite basic, on the other hand you pay for nothing at all. Medicines with prescription are free too.
In addition to GP, you may avail of other healthcare professionals, such as health visitors, midwives or social care services. The service is quite good and it’s totally free. This morning I went to weight Leonardo in a children centre, where I met a midwife. In specific days, there are these drop in centre where you can bring babies if you need.
In Italy I had a public and a private pediatrician. I needed two because the public one is not always available and if you have an emergency you don’t have a direct number to call. On the contrary, mostly private pediatrician have even whats’up and can give an answer directly late in the evening or early in the morning. Here I have nobody, however as mum of two and with the experience of the oldest, I have to say that I am quite relaxed however it’s maybe too early to say.
Anyway for Italian mums that prefer to have a pediatrician here in London, there is the possibility to have some Italian specialists privately, this is the clinic I can suggest: Dottore London.
Thanks for reading. I am waiting for you again here once in a while.