“Sick around the World” – The Doctors of Great Britain

The “Sick around the World” documentary discussed five different healthcare systems, and explained the ups and downs to every system.  The narrator was in search of a healthcare system that the United States may want to look to as a better alternative than the current system we have.  I was intrigued specifically by Great Britain’s policy because I know that they are very proud of their National Health Service (NHS), and I was unaware of how drastically different their system is when compared to the United States’.  In Great Britain, every patient must visit a gatekeeper before seeing a specialist.  The gatekeeper’s job is to determine whether or not a patient really does need to see a specialist, or if he has something as simple as the common cold which can easily be treated at home.  In England, they have the same type of doctors as we do in the United States, but in England it may take much longer for a doctor to see a patient.  A British doctor may also not be as well off financially as American doctors are because they do not make as high of a profit since their prices are controlled by the government.  Their healthcare system allows their citizens to never pay a medical bill if they are on the government run healthcare plan, but in return their citizens do have to pay considerably higher taxes than the United States.  The doctors treat their patients’ bodies and symptoms in the same manner as an American doctor (or biomedical doctor) would, and the quality of the care given is similar to what one would find in the United States.  Great Britain also seems to have a drastically lower infant mortality rate than the United States which many would say is thanks to the NHS.  Possibly the most surprising discovery found during the making of this documentary, was that in not one of the five countries visited had anyone heard of a citizen going bankrupt due to medical bills.

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  1. Laceey Ruble says:

    In England, a biomedical/ Western is approach is taken just as in the US. The difference between the doctors in England compared to the Doctors is the US seems to be a political one. In the US health care is quite often associated with a large bill. Compared to England, insurance cost a ton, deductibles are high, and the price for medication can often sound like a sick joke. The idea in the US is that if you want top-dollar health care you need to be willing and able to pay top-dollar price. Private companies own just about everything when it comes to health and the end game is to make a profit. In the US if you have a preexisting condition that will cost an insurance company, you are likely to be turned down, because health is a privilege not a right. Right? Wrong, in England health care is viewed as a right that should be accessible to everyone, that’s why the NHS it is controlled by the government and not by private companies out to make a profit on people’s lives. I think England has a very legitimate health plan that is working quite well. People are happy, infant mortality rate is low, and the Brits are even living longer than people in the US. Even though England’s system has its faults, such as health care being too cheap, I think it is a more moral system than what we currently have going in the US. For example, it is absolutely ridiculous to me that someone with cancer can be forced into bankruptcy due to medical expenses. I do not think anyone with a life-threatening illness should have to choose between filing for bankruptcy and their life.

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