Dr. Achim Noack no longer lives on Mallorca.
Achim Noack goes out to the garden to get wood for the fireplace. He wants to be undisturbed just for a moment, so leaves his mobile phone on the kitchen table. The telephone suddenly rings. A mother, whose child is sick, is on the other end of the line. Katerina, Dr. Noack’s wife, answers the phone because she’s close by, and receives an angry reply: “Why do you pick up the phone? I wanted to talk to your husband.” This episode is not an exception; the German pediatrician is available almost 24 hours a day and he doesn’t mind: “That’s the job. I want to help and I have to help.”
Only stockbrokers are thought to spend more time on the phone. His mobile is usually activated even during the night. Dealing with emergencies is part of his duty: “Who else would do telephone stand-by duty at night?” At least he’s not woken up too often but, when it does happen, the physician is accustomed to it: “After an emergency I can easily fall asleep again.”
The pediatrician certainly cannot complain about a lack of work. In 1998 he moved to Mallorca, shortly after his marriage, and founded the group practice Clinica Picasso in 2002, whose CEO and co-owner he is today. The co-operation he started 10 years ago with private hospital Rotger continues. It’s an accolade for him from the locals to be part of the emergency services ambulance. The work flow has been successfully established over these years. There are lots of German clients and patients, both in low and in high season. Finding the right medical doctor on the island is not always easy.
For Dr. Achim Noack, he says: “I do not want to grow old here. The next decade we’ll probably leave everything as it is. But after that we will return to Lake Starnberg, where I previously practised.” In the small Bavarian town – a hideaway for wealthy people and celebrities – something interesting happened at the Tengelmann supermarket: Noack encountered his future wife while shopping. The cheerful and sociable man from Düsseldorf spontaneously put a bottle of Prosecco in her trolley and said “Tonight we drink this together, right?” Katerina was amazed but not too easily won over: “I declined to give him my phone number”. At that time she lived in Starnberg and studied for her certificate in German language at Munich’s Goethe Institut. However, the attractive blonde was apparently interested: “We were members of the same tennis club without knowing each other. Finally I rang him up.” The rest is history.
Daughter Naima (Arabic for “soft, tender and bringing good fortune”) was born in 2005, followed by her sister Amira (“Princess”) in 2007. The wonderful family of four lives in the countryside in the municipality of Calvià and they’re happy at home. Achim Noack: “The many posh private viewings and Cava gatherings in Palma don’t attract us too much.” Nevertheless, the Noacks like to go out and meet with friends for a barbecue. “Mainly with Spaniards,” they’ve built private friendships, linked with their daughters’ school lives. Achim Noack: “This has just happened, but if it had been otherwise we’d have purposely wanted that.”
The physician, who has studied in Munich and Florence, knows that it is not easy to compete professionally on the island. Many Germans, who come for the climate and high client potentials, fail with their businesses – even doctors – and quickly pack the suitcases. Mallorca is marked by coming and going. How do you manage to keep the ship afloat on this erratic sea? Noack:
“In the end, reliability, quality and continuity win through. In a long-term perspective you should collaborate with the locals – and it takes about three years to be able to say: We have arrived here.”
Clinica Picasso is the successful result of this philosophy. Fourteen international medical specialists and service providers – including surgeons, cardiologists, osteopaths, dermatologists, nutritionists and physical therapists – as well as five German medical assistants, are fully booked up.
Recently, a German-Swiss dental practice with six team members has been included under the umbrella of Clinica Picasso. The offer will be greatly utilized mainly by German and British residents and tourists. Noack: “The market is obviously there. There is probably no place in Europe outside Germany, where such a high demand for medical services in German is met. “Families come on holiday with printed Google Maps of Clinica Picasso in their hand luggage.” Others use their iPhone while tanning at the beach and find the pediatrician through GPS. The technique works wonders. “All the new communications technology makes things possible that were previously unthinkable. The Internet is an efficient customer-generator, our number one advertising tool,” Noack says.
Their base of regular patients is primarily German and British residents with children but also, since the beginning, many Spaniards. Word of accurate diagnosis gets around. Concerned Mallorcan Social Security patients gladly pay in cash to get faster results. Services such as laboratory tests and ultrasound are carried out quickly and smoothly at Clinica Picasso. The waiting times of public health centres are often up to six months. Noack, as a pediatrician specialized in allergies and respiratory diseases, provides purposeful diagnosis within a few days: “Then the parents are reassured and can start to act therapeutically.”
Avenida Picasso 57
Tel. +34 971 220 666
Petit Tresor – Clothes and toys for kids and babies
C/. Costa d´en Brossa, 12
07001 Palma de Mallorca, Islas Baleares, España
Tel. +34 971 726 883