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An alert for readers 


Dear Editor

As a relative newcomer to Tenerife, I would like to share a couple of experiences with your readers as this might help them with the officialdom you often encounter here.

First of all, obtaining your Social Security number. I read up about this extensively on the web and thought I had it all arranged.

Armed with what I considered to be the right paperwork, I went along to Los Cristianos and joined the relatively short queue which was a surprise in itself. However, when I got to the first counter, the man took one look at my documents and said it wasn’t enough. Apparently, you now need a letter from your potential employer confirming they  have offered you a job and this needs to be on headed paperwork and properly signed and stamped.

I went away, got this and returned, only to be informed that in his opinion I also needed to be signed on to the Padrón so it was back home again to get more paperwork and to get this done a few days later.

However, when I eventually got back to the Social Services office, I was told that to get my number I had to make a prior appointment. This was despite the fact that I had all the paperwork and it would only take a few minutes. But no, they would not let me through. Even more stupidly, I could not make an appointment there and then. They gave me a number which I had to phone and make an advance appointment at the office I was already in. Needless to say, this was not on the same day so I had to come back again a few days later. Then everything went through smoothly and it took about one minute to complete.  This advance appointment system was introduced at the start of the year.

Anyway, armed with all the necessary paperwork, I was at least able to sign on to the local doctors because you need your passport, Padrón certificate, residencia and work contract. Again, this only took a matter of minutes but please make sure everything is in order as you will be turned away. The doctors also run a funny system where you can’t make an appointment to see a doctor when you are there. You also get a special number to ring and then can make an appointment. Is this to create jobs, I wonder?

One thing did surprise me. The receptionist gave me a simple piece of paper with my health number and details printed on it. The plastic card will follow but it could be up to a year, she told me, because of delays at the health service end. Another indication I think of the crisis within the health service?

Perhaps this information might be of some use to your readers.

Name and address supplied