N is for NHS

Posted April 16, 2014 in A-Z Challenge / 6 Comments

Today I’m continuing with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The aim is to write a post for every day of the month except for Sundays, with each post representing a different letter of the alphabet. This year I’m doing an A-Z of Great Britain, covering as much as I can about British music, literature, TV and film, food, wildlife and culture.

For the letter ‘N’ I have chosen the NHS. This stands for National Health Service, and refers to the publicly funded healthcare system in the UK. Basically British citizens contribute taxes and National Insurance towards these services so that we effectively get most of our healthcare for free. We can visit our GP and NHS Dentists for free, and only have to pay for our prescriptions (a standard fee of £8.05 per item) and certain treatments. There is generally no charge for accident and emergency services, hospital treatments and medical operations. The exceptions are road traffic accidents, which are usually paid for out of car insurance and certain operations such as cosmetic surgery (although this can be done on the NHS if it will significantly improve a person’s quality of life).

 Foreign nationals also receive free treatment if they have been living in the UK legally for 12 months, have recently arrived to take up permanent residence, are claiming asylum or have other legal resident status. European citizens are also entitled to free treatment if they have a European Health Insurance Card.

British people love to moan about the NHS. We complain about the state of the hospitals, the ridiculous amount of admin, the huge waiting times, the quality of the food and the ‘incompetence’ of the staff. But most problems with the NHS seem to stem from them being short of staff, funding, space and equipment. Accusations of poor care are in the minority, but it is these incidents (rather than the success stories) that make headlines. The NHS staff I have encountered (especially the nurses) have been extremely hard-working and dedicated to their job. They are just trying their best with limited time and resources, yet their low pay doesn’t reflect this.

While the NHS may be far from perfect, I still think we’re lucky to have it. We don’t have to worry about medical insurance because most of our healthcare is covered. I’d rather pay higher taxes for the peace of mind that brings.

What are your views on the NHS? Is it a wasteful drain on our income or an invaluable service that we should be grateful for?

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6 responses to “N is for NHS

  1. The US is currently all ablaze with our Health Care Reform (Obama Care). But it is all in all a good thing for those who need health care. Far better than filing bankruptcy due to catastrophic medical bills or having to choose medicine over buying food for yourself or your family. A very, very hot topic here.

  2. Hahaha, let me start with a laugh. I am no Citizen or european etc but I can comment right? and so here is my comment. I never knew one could have free health care I mean state funded even if you paid taxes. In my country Cameroon, forget it. Even in public hospitals, the free services could cost you your life. look up you tube, you could die in the waiting room etc. Well, all I can say is good for you all out here
    Marie at http://myeverydaypersonal.blogspot.be/

  3. My stepdad is from England…when Obamacare started, he was concerned healthcare is headed in that direction. We don't have free healthcare here at all, unless it's included as a benefit of employment. We pay hundreds, even over $1,000 a month for insurance…and I'm not hearing that Obamacare is any cheaper.

    Visiting you from the A to Z challenge sign-up page. Great to meet you!

    Stephanie Faris, author
    30 Days of No Gossip

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