Is The British NHS Still The world’s Best Healthcare System?

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, the largest single site NHS hospital in the United Kingdom.

American doctor Jen Gunter has written a glowing review of Great Britain’s National Health Service in her blog, after she was required to attend accident and emergency with her English cousin Helen when she twisted her ankle on a night out.

Dr Gunter, an obstetrician from San Francisco, took her cousin to A+E in Sunderland after Helen had badly twisted her ankle walking in high heels on an old cobbled street.

The doctor was impressed with the speed of care she experienced and the lack of bureaucracy they encountered.

Writing in her blog she said;

“My cousin was triaged immediately. Within two minutes a nurse checked her ankle, gave her codeine, and then sent her off to an urgent care clinic.

“To receive this care, all my cousin had to do was provide her name and birth date.

“No co-payments, no pre-authorisations, no concerns about the radiologist or orthopedic surgeon being out of network.”

Helen’s total time spent dealing with her ankle was around four hours, with what Dr Gunter described as an ‘unavoidable’ hour long wait for the fracture clinic and roughly 30 mins of travel around the hospital.

Dr Gunter observed and chatted with the various members of staff, from the hospital porters, to the nurse practitioners, receptionists and the orthopedic consultant and saw they seemed to take a real pride in working for the NHS, and the service it provided.

This was in direct contrast to her experiences working as a health provider in the United States. As opposed to the UK where all healthcare at the hospital is free at the point of care, she told stories of people who had to wait to save up to go to the doctor, as they didn’t have the available funds to pay for a CT scan.

Dr Gunter believes that Brits should be thankful they have a system where cancer survivors don’t have to wait to save up to go to the doctor to pay for an X-Ray. If they have a problem, they go see a doctor and don’t have to worry about the bill is going to come to.

She believes that the UK government, as it relates to its handling of the NHS should “stop trying to mess it up”.

She is reminded of an earlier experience she had in an NHS hospital when she had to take her son Victor, then 11, to the A+E with an injured eye.

Sitting there waiting patiently with the other patients she thought;

“Take away the accents and I could easily have been listening to a group of Americans discussing their care. With one exception: no one in the UK is left wondering what the price will be, or gets sent a horrific bill. It makes you wonder exactly what frightens Americans about the NHS.”