The United Kingdom has had a unique national health service for well over fifty years now. This is known as the ‘NHS’ and it was conceived in an attempt to provide free health provision to every single citizen of the country. The fact that it is free health care is the biggest myth of them all, as Brits actually pay at least 11% in National Insurance contributions, on top of income tax (around 20 - 50%) to fund this service. Many other western countries are jealous of this healthcare system but fail to realise how duplicitous it really is.
The basic idea of the UK health system is for a citizen to be able to access the service whenever required. Primarily they will be allocated to a General Practioner (GP) and this will be their local doctor. In the UK there are also ‘Accident and Emergency’ departments in all main cities but with government cutbacks, more and more of these close down on an annual basis. People living in smaller towns and rural locations may have to travel for many miles in order to access this type of service.
GP’s and A & E units triage patients and may well refer them to the departments of main hospitals. Some of the hospitals of the UK have now become so vast that most of the largest in Europe are now located in this country. The government has tended to favour closing down smaller units and consolidating more and more services within one location.
There is always a fundamental shortage of beds in UK hospitals and under-funding means that the staff are generally overworked and the nurses are under-paid. In spite of this, the medical professionals are generally held in very high regard and the work that they undertake is highly respected.