The National Health Service
The National Health Service is the public health care system of the UK created in 1946. It functions on the taxes of its citizens and offers all sorts of medical services for free with minor exceptions. It sounds like a fair deal but is it really? Actually, the cost remains the main and often the only reason why people decide to stay with the NHS.
There has been a great deal of criticism towards the NHS and they can hardly compete with private hospitals and facilities. Every patient needs to pay extra attention to all the issues, concerning his own health. So what should a person know before turning to a public hospital?
First of all, he should be ready for long waiting lists. In 1997 the waiting time for non-urgent cases could reach two years. Of course, there were attempts to reduce this number to 18 weeks but the real picture remained depressing. According to research, the average duration of the waiting time exceeds 18 weeks and sometimes reaches 6 months! Of course urgent patients ‘climb’ the list much quicker, but it means extra waiting days for those, who are standing in the regular queue. It is difficult to imagine the measure of a disaster: how many people were diagnosed too late? Though the government attempts to do everything they can, it is difficult to cope with the hundreds of thousands of patients on a waiting list.
Another disadvantage is the condition of the facilities. The patient may have to stay in a mixed gender room and privacy will probably not be the first priority. Patients complain that they don’t have a chance to see their relatives very often because of the short visitors’ hours. In addition the absence of a private bathroom can be quite challenging for those patients who can’t move.
There was also some criticism about the outbreak of resistant bacteria in public hospitals, which caused deaths. They included Staphylococcus aureus and Resistant Enterococci. The hygiene in the facilities was under the question, but the NHS gave assurance that they were doing everything that could be done to fix the situation.
This is why more and more people turn to private hospitals and buy health insurance in order to avoid these ‘superbugs’ and long queues. Another option, chosen by thousands of UK citizens is medical tourism. More and more people travel abroad to get all the services of a high level for a lower price.
They prefer covering the medical bills themselves and obtaining surgeries in time instead of waiting in endless lines and staying on badly equipped wards.
Of course it is the personal choice of every patient whether to choose public medical services or the private sector but remember that saving money on your health might lead to dangerous consequences. Make your decisions responsibly and you will be able to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle.