Healthcare quality: United Kingdom vs America

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Wherever you go in the world, healthcare has the same idea of providing a type of service that cares for people's health. Yet, not everywhere in the world provides the same level of service.
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  Healthcare quality: United Kingdom vs AmericaWherever you go in the world, healthcare has the same idea of providing a type of service that cares for people's health. Yet, not everywhere in the world providesthe same level of service. With the healthcare reform debate currently underway in America, US healthcare quality isreceiving a lot of attention - with many turning to the United Kingdom to criticise theirNational Health Service (NHS) in defence of healthcare qualityin the US.In the UK, the NHS cares for 49 million people (100 percent of the population of England);US public healthcare currently covers about 83 million (around 28 percent of the USpopulation). Healthcare comparedHealth spending as a share of GDP US 16%UK 8.4% Public spending on healthcare (% of total spending on healthcare) US 45%UK 82% Health spending per head US $7,290UK $2,992 Practising physicians (per 1,000 people) US 2.4UK 2.5 Nurses (per 1,000 people) US 10.6UK 10.0 Acute care hospital beds (per 1,000 people) US 2.7UK 2.6 Life expectancy: US 78UK 80 Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births) US 6.7UK 4.8 Source: WHO/OECD Health Data 2009 United Kingdom In the UK, you pay for the national health service (NHS) in the form taxes, meaning if youtake a trip to the hospital, you don't have the expense of paying for it.The main benefits for the old and the young with the NHS is children and old age pensionersdon't pay for prescriptions, and some glasses and eye tests are free through the NHS.Although there are positives to the health system, the quality of UK healthcarebeingprovided is easily criticised. For instance, considering patients don't have to pay forappointments with their doctors, it is often the case that appointments to fill up quickly,  with many opting for free healthcare for any little issue -therebytaking up those allimportant appointment slots for people that do actually need it.As such, where the NHS is so inundated with patients, very long waiting lists exist; meaningthat many turn their backs to the NHS and instead opt for private healthcare policies to tryand get their operations sooner. But through this system, like in America, private healthcarepolicies come with a fee - and depending on the level of coverage, not everything iscovered. America In the US, the healthcare service is funded by each individual person in the form of healthcare insurance, which is often partly contributed to via your employer if you havesuch insurance. In addition, patients have to pay at the point of service with most plans,meaning that if you take a trip to the doctor, for example, a fee will be incurred.Currently around 50 million Americans have no insurance as they can't afford it.What's more, the US has just about the highest healthcare spending in the world – secondhighest by percentage of GDP, first by overall cost – largely because it’s among the mostexpensive. Many of those who have jobs can't afford coverage, and even those withstandard policies often find it doesn't cover commonplace procedures.In August, describing the American healthcare toThe Independent, Stan Brock, founder of the Remote Area Medical, a charity which provides a mobile clinic which provides a freehealthcare operation to those in need, says Back in 1944, the UK government knew therewas a serious problem with lack of healthcare for 49.7 million British citizens, of which I wasone, so they said 'Hey Mr Nye Bevan, you're the Minister for Health... go fix it'. And so camethe NHS. Well, fast forward now 66 years, and we've got about the same number of people,about 49 million people, here in the US, who don't have access to healthcare. For those who can afford healthcare in America, you get a high quality service where youget attentive care, but you still get a hefty bill at the end of it. Many have faced financialruin after having health problems when they're greeted by their bill. So which is more beneficial? If you want a comparison between the two healthcare services from someone who hasencountered both for the same condition, then take a look at Brinley Bruton's article onMSNBC.There's positives and negatives for healthcare quality in both America and UK- althoughthe American system is currently in the process of possibly being over-hauled if PresidentObama gets what he wants - so at the moment it's unclear how dramatically the heathcaresystem will change.Although the NHS in the UK is heavily flawed, and significantly short staffed, at least peopleliving in the UK have access to free healthcare coverage. If they need to visit a doctor theycan do so without worrying about a charge - although there is still the prescription fee.There are also still many people in the UK who can't afford to go to the dentist because of the cost, due to the lack of NHS dentists. And there's many people on the waiting lists foroperations - but then at least you know you're not going to come round from your operationto be confronted by a bill.  So which of the two is better? In terms of the quality of service you get - America. In termsof staying out of debt and having an accessible service - the UK. At least if you're ill in theUK, you don't have to face the fear, if you can get an appointment, you can be treated - forfree.
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