Disclaimer: The information presented below has been gathered from personal (anecdotal) experience and a word of mouth. Individual experiences always vary. If you live in Stockholm and have a really great vårdcentral/doctor/specialist, please do send me his/her contact information.
It indeed is very nice to pay just 120 SEK (ca $15) every time one goes to a doctor.* It’s swell. But. Yes, there is a but. As a matter of fact, there are a few buts.
1. Unless it is an acute problem, expect fairly long waiting time (can be up to three weeks if you don’t insist on an earlier date, but of course, it also depends on the vårdcentralen and the time of the year).
2. I’ve heard this from many people: once in the doctor’s office, do not, I repeat, do not present your own diagnosis of the problem. Just present the symptoms. Supposedly, doctors here are allergic to patients self-diagnosing and won’t take it seriously and might even categorize you as a hypochondriac and completely dismiss all that you’re saying.
3. If the doctor says he/she will call you, do not rely on that. Prepare to be the one in charge. You will have to call them and you will have to be persistent. It’s the same with test results. This has happened to me twice already.
4. I have no idea, how this is in other countries as I’ve only lived in two others and during those times was never really sick, but it seems that the first diagnosis you get here is usually wrong. From my own and others’ experiences.
5. In order to pay less and deal with a shorter waiting time to see a specialist (dermatologist, urologist, etc.) go through vårdcentralen. If you go straight to a specialist, be prepared to pay big bucks and wait a looong looong time reaching up to a few months.
I will add more points as I gather information through my personal and others’ experiences. Feel free to share them with me as well.
* Only citizens and people with ‘real’ personnummer, for example: 880808 – 1111 (year, month, day and four extra digits) that one gets by applying for Swedish residency at immigrationsverket and registering with skatteverket pay 120SEK per visit. Others pay in thousands of SEK. People holding the EU health care card also pay only 120SEK.