The United Kingdom (U.K.) has four healthcare systems that are funded by taxes and National Insurance providers. These four healthcare systems are the National Health Service (NHS) of England, Scotland, Whales and Northern Ireland. The National Healthcare System provides free care to the citizens of the United Kingdom.
What Are the Differences Between National Health Service vs. Private Hospitals?
The National Health Service offers extraordinary care to all its recipients. The government has tried to corroborate a plan to decrease the waiting time for individuals that desire or are in need of elective medical care.
A common surgery that is most often exemplified as elective is a hip replacement. Regardless of the wait time for NHS treatment, the quality of care is still premium. The waiting time for emergency services such as triple bypass surgery is a non-issue as these patients are put on top priority and receive superb care.
National Health Service doctors often participate in private services offered to patients that are utilizing private hospitals. Therefore, the level of expertise, doctor’s credentials and affiliations can be irrelevant factors when considering medical options. Many people claim that the NHS does not equip itself with the most advanced and state of the art technologies when compared to the likes of a private hospital in Belfast for example and the overall advancements that exist.
Private hospitals offer services that are similar to what one would find in a hotel including private rooms, room service, televisions and the like. Private hospitals put a patients needs as a top priority regardless of whether or not the patient’s condition is considered elective as is what happens with cosmetic surgery in Belfast as well. When utilising a private hospital, there is virtually no waiting list.
However, private hospitals do not always have access to the world renowned doctors that are flown in for supervising or consulting purposes to the National Health Service hospitals. Nowadays, it is getting harder to tell the difference between private hospitals and the National Health Service.
National Health Service hospitals are now offering patients the option of consultative care and access to a private hospital. Patients can seek out National Health Service care and receive treatment within a separate private hospital, but the accommodations will be a little less hospitable when taking this route. For example, a patient may receive a shared room, a fee to use the television and less affluent food choices.
NHS is free to taxpayers aside from some vaccinations, prescription drug co-pays, dental, and optical services. NHS is considered less expensive than private health care. Individuals working on government funded coursework and full time students, their spouses and dependents can receive NHS care.
Dependents are defined as children under the age of 16 or 19 if they are a full time student. Citizens from countries outside of the European Union with bilateral agreements or citizens from a country within the European Union both qualify for NHS care.
What Choices Do Patients Have?
There are options that citizens of the UK have when choosing their treatment plans. For example, Freedom Your Choice plan offers patients the ability to seek out medical care and treatment facilities that are a result of the patient’s choice. Patients can receive private healthcare insurance through their employers, but many also choose to pay out of pocket.
The National Healthcare Service Appears To Be Here to Stay
Due to the combined services of NHS doctors and facilities mixing with private hospitals, many individuals wonder about the longevity of the National Health Service. It seems that certain political groups are in favour of private care, while others are extremely supportive of the level of care and current working system that NHS offers.
It seems that the majority is found in those people that favour keeping both options. Private practice does not threaten the recipients of NHS due to the complex idea that there is an overflow of work coming into NHS hospitals and doctors have to manage this regardless. There is also the aspect that those people that are receiving private care are taxpayers and are choosing to go outside of the system by choice or a given opportunity that presents itself.
One thing that is for certain is that the UK government does use its resources to develop innovative treatment options and preventative medicine so that the population can remain healthy. An overall healthy population leads to decreased medical needs limiting the requirement for frequent medical services and thus lessening the patients that NSA hospitals need to tend to. Aside from emergency services, preventative medicine and preventative treatment options can help with the workflow of NSA hospitals and their doctors.