Guess How Much My 3 Weeks In Hospital Cost?
Absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero.
The UK National Health Service may have it's detractors because of it's lengthy waiting lists. However, when it comes to dealing with emergency cases, I couldn't fault the system.
I was visited by the surgeon every day. I had a state of the art bed that was fully motorised. TV and phone of course. 6 different choices at every meal. Constant attention from the physio to keep me mobile.
The free Health Service is still the pride of of Britain as far as I'm concerned!
No no no... you've got it all wrong.
It's better to pay lower taxes and have a safety net for the very worst off, with those that can afford it paying for medical insurance.
Obviously you end up in paying more than a centralised system like the National Health Service which is a lot cheaper as, unlike medical insurance, there is no "profit margin"; it's a nationalised service.
But hell, isn't it better to have to pay through the nose for medical insurance and hope you don't get ill if you're out of work than to have to pay a few percent extra on your tax?
Agreed.our national Health Service is a wonderful Institution,that many of us (myself included)take for granted until the one time we really need it.
It's got it's faults, like any system, but I have to say that I'm grateful for it.
It's comforting to know that it has excellent emergency cover.
But then again, I could be biased, since I work for the NHS
How's the healing going, Mike?
Ignorant American question. How exactly does your system work? I mean, do most employers offer insurance? Does the average person have to go to certain doctors? Are certain treatments, medications, etc. covered and others not?
I've got a friend who lives near Leeds and she had a terrible time with waiting lists (months in her case). That flabbergasted me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not cricitizing a system I don't know. I'm not happy with ours, there are too many people with no coverage whatsoever, and the insurance companies absolutely screw people. Case in point, my mother had cancer and was receiving treatment but the HMO decided it was "experimental" and cut it off. As a result, she died 4 months later.
Personally I would favor some sort of safety net coverage for the poor. I don't think it's right to have 40 million people with no medical protection. And yes, I would be willing to pay for it. I'd rather my tax dollars go to that than a $600 hammer or a $900 wrench. I don't favor scrapping completely what we've got, but there's got to be a way to modify it to be more humane. When my son was hospitalized a couple of months ago, the total bill was over $10,000. Because we had insurance we only had to pay $250, but if we didn't that would be an immense amount to pay out.
My National Insurance contributions are now £2 per week.
You're correct about the waiting times for non urgent surgery though. It can be over 18 months in some cases such as a replacement knee or hip. The Blair government is committed to reducing the waiting times and is pouring money into the Health service.
Why is the wait so long? It's not anything like that here. So why would a national health system expand the waiting time?
Shortage of surgeons I believe. You can go privately, say with BUPA and pay if you want to, then it can ber fixed within a day or so.
Really? Okay, I thought everyone was on the same plan. So there is private and public coverage? If so, then that sounds fair to me. If one has the means or desire to pay for it, or pay for extra coverage then they should be allowed.
How exactly does your system work? I mean, do most employers offer insurance? Does the average person have to go to certain doctors? Are certain treatments, medications, etc. covered and others not?
No, most employers do not offer private health insurance. It is a "perk" with some jobs, and it is taxed.
Everybody can register with a GP (General Practitioner) surgery in their area. You can choose which surgery to register with. Some surgeries are busier than others, in some areas it is difficult to get an appointment for non-emergency consultations (you may have to wait for a week or so). You may not see the same GP every time. All GP appointments are free.
You pay a set fee for prescriptions, irregardless of the actual cost. I think it is about £6.
There is a government department called NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) which determines what treatments are available. Some regional health authorities provide services which others do not - this is referred to as the "Postcode Lottery" - it is all down to budgets and funding. This tends to affect expensive drug therapy for instance, and is rare.
All women have the right to free birth control - and your pharmacist does not have the right to refuse to serve you if she is a fundamentalist christian.
Waiting list times are a problem, and not easily resolved, because doubling the NHS budget would not spontaneously produce qualified nurses, surgeons, physiotherapists and so on. If you are fortunate enough to have private health insurance, or you can pay, you can skip the queue by going private - and usually see the same consultant you would have 12 months later on the NHS. Which does raise the issue of whether private health care is relieving an overstretched NHS, or just worsening care for those who can't pay.
Nonetheless, as Mike pointed out, for acute conditions or emergency care, the NHS is still excellent.