Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Crisis? What crisis?

This article from BBC News Online is one of the more recent articles that criticises the NHS, the National Health Service in Britain. The media are full of articles like this – as a country, we slag it off almost as much as we slag off the weather. And anyone who has ever been to this country will know that the weather is our national obsession.
Everytime you open a newspaper, there’s something about a ‘crisis’ in the NHS; how people have spent months waiting for operations, or those who have had to wait on trolleys in corridors because of the lack of available beds in hospitals. What annoys me about this is that we’re so bloody lucky to have the service.
Take Firda, whose family is having to pay US$300 for every day that her mother is in the intensive care unit. Then there’s Jake, who’s having to pay $420 for a problem with his back. And Kim had some dental problems a few months ago, which weren’t exactly cheap.
Now, without wanting to gloat, thanks to the NHS I’m not in that position. The NHS is a state-funded system, unlike the private services that exist in the US, and, presumably, Indonesia. We pay a little bit more tax, and the money from that funds the hospitals, ambulances, doctor’s surgeries, dental practices – everything. So no matter whether you’re on the dole or earning Roy Keane wages, you are guaranteed adequate healthcare.
I’m unsure of the statistics but in the US there are millions who don’t have health insurance, and are basically in a position where they cannot afford to be ill. No wonder the US was recently ranked at #37 by a World Health Organization report. The UK was ranked 18th. Cuba, the communist state that the US dispises so much, was ranked 39th, only two places behind (full list). Admittedly, the UK’s provision of healthcare is only average for Europe, but 18th out of 190 is pretty good.
(Oh yeah, France comes top and Indonesia is a disappointing 90th, but even Colombia reaches 22nd place.)
In short, I just wish the media would stop whining so much about a system that, in general, works well. Maybe that’s why prospective Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean wants to introduce something similar in the US if he gets elected.


  1. $4500, to be exact. My parents just finished paying it off (how, I don’t know). Insurance contribuated a whole 250$ to it, too. Better then nothing, but still.

  2. Ouch. That’s more than my entire life savings.

  3. Welcome to the USA!
    As someone who works as both a therapist and Trade Union Steward in the ‘NHS’ – do not underestimate change, the media are chaotic – goo, bad and ugly. However, if you look very carefully you will see a slow and deliberate erosion of the ‘NHS’ and the beginings of privitisation, market led services, down-grading of specialism and welcome to USA.