The British public’s aversion to better health outcomes really really irks me. So for context again, I am an American who spent the first half of my professional career working to improve health systems (in particular patient access to healthcare) throughout the US and abroad. I’ve lived in several countries (including places like remote African islands) and whilst this is unequivocally the worst healthcare system I’ve ever experienced this is far less offensive to me than the British public’s learned helplessness and general acceptance of having to “live” with injury and illness. The way I look at Brit’s defence of the NHS is the same way I look at America’s defence of military interventions: irrational, dangerous, nationalistic and indefensible. Here are a couple things I would encourage the British public to ponder when thinking about how to advocate for changes to their beloved health service…
The NHS isn’t free.. you pay via tax
Just a reminder to everyone.. you pay for the NHS! Just not at the point of service. It works much the same like private insurance. Every year you pay towards your healthcare such that when you get ill and show up… nothing comes out of your pocket. Shouldn’t you be demanding more as a customer? Why is everyone so comfortable waiting for substandard care they’ve rightfully paid for? The Fake “Free” concept is keeping the public from demanding more.
“Fake Free” doesn’t equal greater access to care
The greatest myth that I’ve heard people espouse is that somehow if you found a new way to finance healthcare in the UK it will somehow lead to less healthcare access. So people ACTUALLY think that waitlists will get worse? Hip replacement waitlists will go from 2 years to 3 years? I can say for certain that the current 6 week wait time I was quoted to change birth control is something I have NEVER experienced in the US. The options to accessing care due to the exponentially higher resources in the privately financed health system (due to the variety of non-government payers) means that competition, options and more financial resources leads to greater access to care, not less.