As you may well know; the United Kingdom boasts a universal health care system. This basically means that your health care is covered by the British government providing you are a British resident (although a few Europeans are also entitled to care as non-residents if they are injured in the country and own a particular health card). This is a stark contrast to the American way of doing things. On this page I want to take a little look at the pros and cons of healthcare in the United Kingdom.
Pros and Cons of Healthcare in the UK
The biggest pro is that absolutely everybody has access to healthcare if they are a UK resident. You can hop on over to your local doctor or hospital and not have to pay anything for your treatment. This is brilliant. It means that you do not have to sit back and really think about whether you need that doctor’s trip like you would if you are in the United States. You also do not need to worry about shelling out for your insurance each and every month. Sure; there is a ‘cost’ for this service, but it will come out of your pay in the form of national insurance. If you do not work then you do not pay national insurance, but you still obviously have access to the health care services.
The secondary benefit is that there are no companies out there who control the medical industry. As you may well know; in the United States, many drug companies sort of ‘bribe’ doctors to prescribe their medicine to patients. This does not happen in the United Kingdom. Every medicine that is prescribed is carefully inspected to make sure it meets NHS guidelines, and that means that only a few medications get through to the market and people are only prescribed what they need.
The plus side is that medications that you are prescribed are going to be useful. There is none of this ‘prescribing medication’ just because it is there and you are being paid to do it. Medication is cheap too. You won’t be shelling out hundreds. No matter what medication you get it is always a low price.
The problem is that there are less treatments available in the United Kingdom than in other countries that have private health care systems. The NHS bases its treatments off whether it is cost-effective or not. If the treatment is not cost-effective (even if it can prolong a life), then it will not be allowed as part of the NHS and this means people will need to pay privately if they want that treatment. It does save money, but obviously if you are on the side where you want your live to be extended but can’t quite afford to pay for private treatment then it can be a little bit irritating. Thankfully new treatments are always up for approval for the NHS (they do take years to go through), and this means that some treatments which aren’t allowed now may be in the future.
See Also Universal Health Care in Different Countries: