International Health Care Systems

NHS Doctors prefer private insurance

In England, all residents receive free medical care from the National Health Service (NHS), which is run by the Department of Health. Many critics of nationalized health care would say that publicly provided medical care is often of inferior quality to that of medical care provided in the private market. A recent Times (UK) article (“Doctors opt to have private operations“) substantiates that claim. The article cites a recent survey of 500 physicians, in which 41% elected to pay for private insurance even though 90% of those surveyed worked for the NHS. Why would a physician pay for medical care when they received free medical care from the NHS:

“Dr Sarah Burnett, a consultant radiologist in London who worked in the NHS for 15 years, said she took out private medical insurance while she was employed in the state service because she was unimpressed with the level of care she witnessed first hand.

‘NHS treatment is not a pleasant experience in any way — from the standard of the food, to ward cleanliness and the chance of catching MRSA,’ she said.”