Friday, 24 July 2009
In light of the current debate about universal healthcare in the the U.S., I would like to share an experience I had with the healthcare system in the U.K.
A few years ago I slipped on my kitchen floor and injured my knee badly.
As an American living abroad I was worried about going to the local emergency room (called the A&E over here).
I think I was concerned about the quality of care I would receive within a system of socialized (i.e. not for profit) medecine.
Strange as it sounds, my inner fear was…why would they give me quality care if there is no insurance company to bill and they aren’t going to make any money out of it?
My fear turned out to be just that: a baseless fear.
The care I received at every step of the recovery process…from emergency room to x-rays to knee brace, crutches etc. to doctor consultations to physiotherapy…was expert and excellent.
I especially remember the physiotherapist. He was passionate about his work, had an infectiously gung-ho attitude, and taught me fascinating things about joint injuries.
My knee recovered completely.
I believe the care I received was as good or better than I would have received…very expensively…in the U.S.
And it cost me no more than the quarterly £28 (about $60) I pay to my National Insurance.
At one point an MRI scan was being considered (I didn’t need one it turned out). Speaking out of an embarrassing naivete I didn’t realize I possessed, I actually asked the doctor if high-tech medical equipment here in the U.K. was as “good” as it was in the U.S.
He smiled and said, “We have all the same equipment here…we just don’t try to sell it to you.”