How Does Britain’s National Health Service Work?

Britain’s National Health Service, also known as NHS, is basically the public health care system of Great Britain. This system was introduced in 1948 as a pillar of the welfare state and was set up by the Labour government right after the World War II was over.

The development of the Welfare State is perhaps, one of the greatest social reforms that took place in the British history. This was a national coalition of government in the World War II, which sets up a commission led by William Beveridge a professor of economics at Oxford University, who reviews the systems of the medical and social insurance that exists in Britain during that time.

What is NHS?Britain's National Health Service

The NHS is a good example of what socialized medicine is. The health care is being provided by one single player, which is the British Government and as such, it is being funded by the taxpayers. All of the appointments and treatments are therefore of no cost for the patient since these are paid for by the taxes of the people. Even all of the prescription drugs are free as well. In fact, the maximum cost of receiving any prescription drug from the NHS is only $12.

How Was It Formed?

The NHS has been officially established in July of 1948 right in the wake of the World War II. It was developed to replace the inadequate systems of some volunteer hospitals, where, during the war has merely relied on the funding from the government. Doctors as well as conservative politicians have greatly opposed the establishment of the NHS.

Just like with most developed countries all over the world, Britain ranks above the United States when it comes to health measurements. The citizens of Britain have much longer life expectancy and a lower mortality rate. Moreover, the country has various acute care hospital beds and has fewer deaths rate to medical or surgical mishaps.

Is There Private Health Insurance in Britain?

So you might wonder, due to the presence of NHS, are there any private health insurance that exists in Britain? The answer is yes, there are health insurances in Britain, similar to the US. A lot of employers will often offer private health insurance plans as one of the benefits and perks of their employees. But only a minority of patients will not opt for the NHS system in receiving their medical treatments and will go for private institutions.

Private patients will have an option to choose their specialists and avoid the long waiting list for non-emergency procedures. It has been said that an NHS patient will have to wait for an average of about eight weeks to get treated and be admitted to a hospital. And it will take an average of four weeks for the outpatient treatments, while two weeks for the diagnostic tests. Although patients who want to get treated through NHS will have an option to choose their hospital, they cannot choose their specialist.

How Big Is the NHS?

The National Health Service of Britain employs more than 1.6 million of people, making them to become one of the top five of the world’s biggest workforces along with the US Dept. of Defence, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, as well as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Furthermore, the NHS is among the biggest parts of a system by far, which caters to 53.9 million people and employs more than 1.3 million people. Of this, the clinically qualified staff comprises of 40,236 general practitioners, 18,576 ambulance staff, 351,446 nurses, 111,963 hospital and community health service dental and medical staff. The one based on Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales employs 62,603, 159,748, and 84,817 employees respectively.

Where does the NHS Get its Funding?

As mentioned, the funding for the NHS will come directly from taxation. Ever since the NHS was transformed in 2013, the payment system for the NHS has underpinned by the legislation. The Health & Social Care Act in 2012 moves the responsibility for pricing from the Dept. of Health towards a shared responsibility for the NHS England. When the NHS was established in the year 1948, a budget of £437 million was allotted for it. For the years 2015 to 2016, the budget was set at £115.4 billion.

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