London Tip of the Day Part 4

I know sometimes we are concerned with insurance when traveling overseas. What if I get sick? What if something happens and I need to see a doctor? Well, in London they have better health care than we do in the states. You can pay cash for a doctor. An emergency room visit will cost you about £50. Your other option is to have a doctor make a house call! That's right, the hotel will order a doctor right to your room for you for £160! Now that's what I call room service!


Pete said…
I'm just waiting for Citizen Grim to get a hold of this one. Cheaper/government paid health care doesn't necessarily mean better, but then again, house calls are pretty cool.
CGrim said…
I agree with Peter. Cheaper doesn't necessarily mean better. In fact, it only appears "cheaper," because the British people are paying for it through the nose in high taxes. And, as usual, the government manages to make a royal mess of things. Why? Because governments are notoriously incompetent at anything beyond their legitimate functions (namely, providing for the defense of the country, and upholding the justice system).

Heck, look at this article from two days ago, about cancer survival rates: UK cancer survival rate lowest in Europe. Especially notice the chart on the right.

The cancer survival rate in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, N Ireland) averages 47.6% for men & women combined. In the U.S. (if you can't find it on the chart, look towards the top), the cancer survival rate is at a combined 64.6%. But maybe they're dying of obesity or capitalism before they can die of cancer?

A British film reviewer, darkly cynical about Michael Moore's film, Sicko, had this to say: "He [Michael Moore] travels to London to show off the beauty and brilliance of the British National Health Service. He talks to an unstressed doctor who has a four bedroom house in Greenwich and a £100,000 salary from the NHS. He films empty waiting rooms and happy, care-free health workers. He even talks to Tony Benn about how this wonderful marvel came into existence in 1948.
What he hasn’t done is lie in a corridor all night at the Royal Free watching his severed toe disintegrate in a plastic cup of melted ice. I have."


A few months back, Fred Thompson pointed out some disturbing statistics about British healthcare: " officials of the British National Health Service, often held out as an example of the kind of socialized medicine America should adopt, have acknowledged that they have similar problems. One in eight National Health Service hospital patients has to wait more than a year for treatment. Thirty percent wait more than 30 weeks.
Think about it. This is what we're supposed to copy? The poorest Americans are getting far better service than that."

Then there's this article from last fall, where a UK paper uses the words "incompetence, debt, misery and filth" to describe the British National Health Service. Not exactly a glowing endorsement.

Going back a little further, there was a great piece in the Wall Street Journal from an American relating his nightmare experience with the NHS.

Here's another article from 4 days ago, where a US doctor points out that if you need an MRI in the United States, you might have to wait 2 or 3 weeks. How long would you need to wait in the UK? Up to fourteen weeks!

And then there's Canada, where maternity waiting lists are longer than a full-term pregnancy. Canadians are giving up and flying to the U.S. to have their babies.

Seems to be a common theme.
Amanda said…
I'm also not a fan of socialized much of anything. Though I think that the insurance industry is rather corrupt and annoying; it's better than much of what is out there.

Aside - Pete, I like the area where it shows who has commented recently...nice.
Kris said…
By better, I mean as travelers. I have no insurance when traveling in the UK. If they were over here, they'd pay out the nose for medical care in the states. No, the medical care may not be up to par completely, I never said it was...only that it was more readily available to those who may need it. We don't exactly have house calls in the states. I wasn't trying to make some huge social statement, just a comment that if you happen to be traveling in London not to worry if you get sick because health care is readily available.
Amanda said…
That is certainly nice to have the opportunity while travelling. Getting sick abroad would be zero fun. (Not that getting sick is ever fun unless you're only just sick enough not to go to work and you can watch movies all day and sleep - that's a little fun.)

Kris, hope everyone in your London party feels completely better now. Did the doctor carry one of those cool black bags?
Kris said…
I didn't actually call a doctor. I felt bad for one day, and I'm not the type to go to the doctor right away, but Luci was insistent on at least calling to see the options, even though if rolls were reversed, she'd never have seen a doctor either. But when she called the hotel desk to ask about a local doctor's office or hospital, they said they'd send one to the room.

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