The National Health Service in the UK: who pays, and who is covered


The United Kingdom has a free-at-the-point-of-delivery universal health care system.

The National Health Service, founded in 1948, is funded from National Insurance and general taxation, and covers primary and secondary treatment, drugs, dentistry, and eye health.

There is a huge controversy in America at the moment about health care, who should pay, who should be covered, how the system should be organised, and how the whole health system should be structured.

I have seen on various places online a number of references to the Canadian system (about which I know almost nothing) and to the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom.

A lot of the comments I've seen in various places online bear little or no resemblance to how the NHS actually works.

This article sets out how the system came into being, how it works, who pays for it and how, and who is entitled to NHS treatment and coverage.

The NHS employs more than 1.5 million people in the country as a whole. It is the fourth biggest direct employer in the world, after the Chinese Army, Wal-mart, and the Indian Railways.

A newborn baby, 12 hours old, in a National Health Service neo-natal ward in London, and his proud grandmother
A newborn baby, 12 hours old, in a National Health Service neo-natal ward in London, and his proud grandmother

The NHS is, in general, strongly supported in the UK.

There is no political party which ever advocates getting rid of universal health care which is free at the point of delivery and is paid for out of general taxation and National Insurance.

Any party which did want to abolish free universal care would dive out of the polls in an instant. I've never even met anyone who wants to get rid of it.

No-one thinks the NHS is perfect, of course. But as an institution and system, it commands wide-spread public support.

National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, an NHS hospital in Queen's Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, an NHS hospital in Queen's Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1

1948 Government film about the establishment of the NHS

What health care was like before the National Health Service

The National Health Service began life in 1948. It inherited a patchwork system of medical care - many hospitals were charities, or part-charity, part-private.

Some were religious institutions, or partly paid for by some organisation or another, such as trade unions, the Freemasons, or Rotary societies.

Local authorities ran some hospitals, or paid part of a hospital's expenses in return for some treatment being available for local people.

There were 148 Local Authority Health Care boards in the country, and primary schools also had a basic health service to monitor infectious illnesses among pupils.

Some people's health care expenses were covered through private insurance. Others, if they could afford to, paid their own health bills as and when the need arose.

The National Insurance Act of 1911 provided health care to many working people, who paid their "stamp" out of their wages, and in return were covered for not only health care, but some unemployment and sickness benefits too.

There was no universal system, and a lot of people had no access to health care at all, as they couldn't afford it and weren't covered by any particular insurance or charitable scheme.

The National Health Service's main logo
The National Health Service's main logo

A (very) Brief History of the National Health Service

The need for, and desirability of, a national health care system was recognised during the Second World War.

From 1939 onwards, all health care systems in the UK were under great strain. Many health care workers were called up for military service, putting greater pressure on those who remained.

Bombings, fires and injuries from fighting increased the number of people needing treatment hugely. And many hospitals were themselves damaged in the Blitz.

All of London's major teaching hospitals suffered from at least some bomb damage during the War.

And there was a general sense that, having pulled together and united as a country to fight the War, there should be a similar unity when peace finally arrived. There was an increasing belief, held by many people, that proper health care should be a right, not a privilege.

William Beveridge, a Labour politician, wrote a report in 1942, usually known as the "Beveridge Report" which considered how social welfare, pensions, health care and education should be reformed after the War. The five ills of society were defined in the report as ,"Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness".

Both main political parties (Conservative and Labour) supported the idea of some kind of universal entitlement, although they had different ideas about how to implement the idea.

Despite the austerity, war damage, shortage of money and on-going rationing, the National Health Service began life on 5th July 1948.

From the start, it was funded mostly from general taxation, and partly from National Insurance (which everyone in the UK has to pay as well as tax).

William Beveridge, author of the 1942 "Beveridge Report" and spiritual father of the National Health Service
William Beveridge, author of the 1942 "Beveridge Report" and spiritual father of the National Health Service

NHS' most successful advertisement for recruiting nurses

Who is entitled to health care on the National Health Service?

Anyone who is "ordinarily resident" in the United Kingdom is covered by the NHS.

"Ordinarily resident" in this case means lawfully being in the UK, and living here, and intending to continue to make the UK a permanent home.

This means that British citizens who live in other countries are not covered by the NHS, unless they are moving back to the UK to live here. They cannot visit if and when they want medical treatment, while living elsewhere.

People other than British citizens can be ordinarily resident in the UK. Being here lawfully is a pre-condition.

People who move here either from other European Union countries, or from non-EU countries on a permanent basis, are covered by the NHS even though they are not British citizens.

Visitors are not entitled to NHS coverage. The exceptions to this rule are emergency treatment, and reciprocal arrangements with some countries whereby the citizens of each are treated in the other's countries. This depends on individual agreements with different countries.

People seeking asylum, and refugees, are entitled to NHS care. Failed asylum seekers are not so entitled, nor are illegal immigrants (although in practice, many do actually get NHS coverage).

Who pays for the National Health Service, and how much does it cost?

Anyone paying tax and National Insurance in the UK is contributing towards the NHS. There is no special health insurance payment or budget, instead the National Health Service is funded out of general state income.

The total NHS budget for the financial year 2007-2008 was £90 billion, approximately $135 billion (US dollars). This is about £1,500 (c. $2,200) per person in the country.The budget has risen at, on average, 3% above inflation per year since 1948.

60% of the NHS budget goes on wages and salaries.

The UK spends about 8% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health care.

More by this Author


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

I just want to make sure I understand perfectly, so beyond universial health coverage does anyone have to pay extra for treatment? Are there certain procedures that are not covered and the like? Just curious.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Dentistry and optician stuff has limited coverage. Medical stuff - primary healthcare, childbirth, heart transplant, etc has no limits other than clinical ones. No payment, either.

Outpatient prescriptions, such as for antibiotics or blood pressure pills, some people pay for, it's £7.20 a go, however much the drug costs. You don't pay if you are under 18, over 60, unemployed, pregnant, had a baby within the last 18 months, and various other things.

eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Thanks for explaining the system.

Is there any waiting or delays on service. Canada say they have problems that they cannot get the operations they need. Many have to wait six months to forever to get on the list for operations. Is there problems like that in the UK. Also, how about law suits with the doctors and how are bad doctors dealt with within the system?

Thank you,

Keep on Hubbing!

dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina

Good info, LongonGirl - I hope you'll share more, maybe even some personal experiences with your system.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

This is the first in a series of hubs about the NHS - no. 2 being written now (-:

Hugo Santos 7 years ago

Thanks for this info. I found it particularly interesting because i am 3 weeks from becoming an employer of the British NHS.

I think every country should have a public health system and free. The only thing that should be paid are fees to moderate population to not use excessive resources from the system and off course, elective procedures...

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

I hope you enjoy it! Where are you going to be working? Are you a doctor, nurse, midwife?

bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

Great Article with good information. The debate in the US has only begaun and England's system will certainly be looked at.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Well your health care system sounds much better than here in the US.  I heard some people the other day saying three or four hundred US dollars would be the perfect monthly payment for a health care here, but I just do not agree.

At the moment I will continue not to have insurance because I do not see the point of paying these absorbent amounts, especially since having several part-time jobs means none of my employers will offer me insurance.  I could go on and on about how bizarre our health care system is here, but that would be annoying so I will stop.

It is good to see how other countries are not having panic attacks over universal health care.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Hi bg - glad you found it interesting.

Sweetiepie, £300 or so a month sounds like an awful lot to me! As far as your earlier question about what is covered, what patients have to pay for, I've published that hub now:

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Excellent piece, LG! The U.S. took the wrong fork in the road when it let medical coverage be tied to one's employer. That midset is now so entrenched that most Americans can't conceive of a system where health care isn't connected to the workplace. Offering insurance as a "benefit" at a job is partly responsible for this recession, because American companies can't compete with companies in othere companies who don't have this added overhead. They can't, that is, unless they outsource jobs to countries that don't require an employer to offer health insurance. Meaning America loses jobs that it wouldn't have to if we had our own NHS.

I love Obama, but his plan is to fine employers who don't offer health insurance. Not the way to go at all. The right direction would be removing the profit factor from insurance companies. Insurance giants don't want to give up the cash cow, so naturally they're hoping Obama's offer-it-or-be-fined plan goes through. As long as Americans have to pay for health "insurance"...what a misnomer...we'll never have free-to-all medical care. We need to just nationalize hospitals and doctors and be done with it.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

The UK had the National Insurance (health care through work) from 1911 to 1948, and while better than nothing, it didn't work very well.

Am I dead, yet? 7 years ago

If only the US had the guts to implement something like universal health care. As you have stated, it is very politically motivated and there are just too many companies (pharmaceutical, research, insurance) that profit so, so much to even fathom the possibility that everyone deserves health care. As always, excellent work.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Thanks very much - glad you found it interesting. There is a third in this series to come, later today, about a patient's perspective of how the NHS works.

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Great article, and thanks -- this answers my question about non-resident citizen coverage. It makes sense, of course, that non-residents would not be covered; otherwise the system would be open to all sorts of abuse from people seeking everything from regular check-ups to major surgery. I've taken advantage of the system a couple of times in the past, oops -- but no one ever asked me about my status. Great timing for hubs on this topic: it is a real eye-opener for US citizens who are wary of government taking over control of health care.

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK


This is a topic that never ceases to provoke interest on Hubpages. I used to find fault with our system until I realised just how lucky we are compared with other countries. I still have some issues with the NHS, but I know that if I want something done at my convenience I have the option to pay and go privately. Even our private healthcare sounds a more cost-efficient choice than some of the options available elsewhere! No wonder health tourism has become such a boom industry.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Hi Teresa - your article half-prompted this; I'd also read a recent Court of Appeal case saying that failed asylum-seekers were not ordinarily resident in the UK and therefore couldn't get non-emergency NHS treatment.

Amanda, I know the NHS isn't perfect, but I still think we are pretty damn lucky compared with many places - a view that, like you, hubpages has encouraged!

BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

Great piece of research yet again and very well presented.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Thanks Brian, glad you found it interesting.

JustinMartyr 7 years ago

"The NHS is, in general, strongly supported in the UK... "

That's not what I heard on the tube or from family members in the UK when I was there.

Isn't your tax rate something like 60%? Is that strongly supported? This kind of system and tax rate is what you really want America????

I think that the reason that people "support" it is because they don't know anything else and you said that any political party wanting its repeal would drop in the polls - of course they would - someone needs to have a great idea and solutions to replace it with.

Even if someone promised they could make the system better and make it cost less (and they really could deliver on their promise) you still have to fight tooth and nail to get people off of the government healthcare welfare system.

And no offense to the UK or Western Europe in general but you've been in a slow irreverible slide for decades (here in US we are on our way with you) and it remains to be seen if this system will even survive. Especially after you become a Muslim country as the demographics clearly indicate WILL happen - it's just a matter of when.

It just won't work here in the US - no way, no how. We have an opportunity to make something better here and it breaks my heart to hear people who want to adopt a failing system from overseas for this country.

As far as the people who think that $400 a month is too much to pay (it's the amount I pay for myself) - I bet you have an iphone or and ipod, a big screen tv and all the fixins' don't you?

Some people's priorities are just messed up and want everyone else to give them 'free' healthcare......

The only problem is - NOTHING IS FREE.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Tax rates aren't 60%! Why do you think that?

Tax rates go up - first £5k or so is free of tax, then 20%, 24%, and 40% top rate, for earnings over about £38,000.

Ask people whether they want the NHS abolished or not. Of course people complain about it - expectations are very high. But they support having it.

I think $400 a month is a hell of a lot. I have an ipod, but no iphone or big screen TV.

Justin Martyr 7 years ago

The top tax rate was 60% until Mrs. Thatcher cut it in 1988. Sorry about that, however your top earners, over 150,000 pounds will pay 45% if Labour has it's way.

Now I know some people will say who cares? They're rich. But I live in California where the liberal progressives (Democrats - basically similar to Labour) have basically bankrupted our state with that same kind of ideology and rhetoric.

Whether you like it or not- if you put the squeeze on your most successful citizens you will eventually destroy your economy. Look at California, we are loosing our most successful businessmen to other states because they can't do what they do best here on the "Left" coast.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

My head of Chambers earns £750k a year, and he still supports the NHS.

THe NHS isn't the cause of the UK's budgetary problems. We have them, for sure, but not because of the NHS.

robie2 profile image

robie2 7 years ago from Central New Jersey

Excellent piece LondonGirl. I've been seeing scare commercials on TV here in American putting out patently false information about " socialized medicine"-- all about how with government in charge people die of cancer because they are on a waiting list for chemo etc...... just really awful scare is good to have the facts set out so clearly and intelligently. Perhaps some of those who have been fooled by the propaganda will be informed by this excellent hub. You spend much less on your single payer government system than we do and get much more for your money.

Here medicine is a business. In the UK it is a human right. I wish America shared your point of view.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

I'm glad you found it interesting. I'm a supporter of the NHS, even though between us, my family pays more in tax than we would pay to get private health care.

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town

I'd definitely rather get sick in the UK than in the US!

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Me too - but better still is not getting ill at all (-:

mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 7 years ago

Thank you so much for putting this together. Here in the US there are so many opinions, misinformation, and so forth about systems such as this.  This is really, really useful for the facts as well as how it's received by the people.  I'll be sharing this with others for sure.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

How very kind - I'm glad you found it interesting and useful.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Just to chime in about Justin's comment it is not liberals that have ruined the economy here in California, but the reality it was the housing bubble and the same big business corruption as across the rest of the US that caused the decay.

Back in 2003 Grey Davis was going to raise the price on car registration, but for some reason people here threw a fit about that.  They had a referendum to elect Arnold because he was a popular actor, and said he would not raise taxes.

Interestingly people in California do not seem to realize that our entire infrastructure is dependent upon tax payer dollars, and then they wonder why schools lack supplies and have to cut teachers.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Our economy is in the toilet too, but not because of the NHS, we've had periods of huge economic growth with it in place, and recessions with it in place, too!

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Exactly, but I guess I just am tired of the old rhetoric that the liberals have ruined the world economy, which that is just not true. At least in the UK it sounds like most voters are more discerning than that.

Iphigenia 7 years ago

Hi - you are really informative as usual but as a user of the NHS for 40 years (and an employee at one stage for 4 years) I'm not a great fan, although I admire the majority of the medical professiobals with whom I worked.

The system is administratively heavy on the one hand and has let my family down on a number of occasions over 3 generations. Mainly because poorly paid, overworked staff have been unable to give out comprehensive information.

I now live in France and am far happier with the system here - the patient is treated as a customer and has much more empowerment over many aspects of their health care. The NHS would not give me my health records when I left the UK for good - I got an annotated list of the major events in my health during the course of my life. Here I own all my health records, I can load them (or not if I so choose) onto a chip on a credit-type card and I can personally call any doctor, at any level of specialisation and talk to her/him. Once I choose a doctor they can read my chip to get up to dae or I can talk tme through. I never feel rushed - even when my GP has a waiting room full of people. I'm on a low income and get 100% of my health care paid - including dentistry and prescriptions. I also get a free 2 yearly MOT - which is a full day spent as an outpatient and during which I get examined by every department from neurology down to podiatry and all regions in between - including a psychologist .....

My daughter, who works, gets 70% of her health care covered by the state.(and this is the same for all workers). She opts to pay 20 euro per month top-up into a health insurance fund - the amount varies with the age of the individual and any health conditions - but whatever the amount, all costs are reimbursed by the insurer. The sytem is totally automated and repayments into a bank account never take more than 10 days.

Also, it took a French doctor to inform my mother (when she was on a 2 month visit here) that she had a heart problem and not chronic asthma for which she had been treated in the UK for nearly 30 years.

Having said that, the genesis of the NHS was one of the greatest things ever and a return to the sprit in which is was conceived would be no bad thing.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

I don't really know anything about the French system, thanks for taking the time to explain it.

I certainly don't think the NHS is perfect, but my experiences have all been very positive, and I think it's far better than a system where some people don't get any health care at all, or go bankrupt trying to pay for it.

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Excellent article. I am glad y'all have a system you are pleased with. Over here, we are a bit more independent, or try to be. One is reminded of when America told the Indian Chief about the Reservation—don't worry, everything you need will be provided by the US Government. The Chief said, "That may be fine for women and children. But a man is not a man unless he takes care of himself."

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Respectfully James I do not believe that universal health care would make some Americans more dependent because many of us want a system more like that of the UK.  I was disappointed when universal health care was voted down in 94, and it came across as greed to me on part of the insurance companies.  The structure of employer and insurance based health care was solidified under the Nixon administration when the latter learned they could make a pretty penny with this set-up. 

Not all of us can afford high premium insurance, deductibles, and many people in this country go without.  Personally I would feel better having nationalized health care as opposed to asking family and friends to help me pay for insurance.  I speak from the experience of someone who paid about 2,000 dollars out of pocket for back injury treatments because I had a 5,000 deductible.  The type of careers I have had did not make coming up with that money easy.

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

SweetiePie:  I understand your perspective.  And I'm not saying you are wrong.  I just don't agree.  I played in a rock band for 20 and none of us had any insurance.  So, I do what it is not to have any.  The story about the Indian Chief, the Apache Chief Puma, is a true story. It looks like we are headed to a national reservation to me.

jo oliver 7 years ago


Kidgas profile image

Kidgas 7 years ago from Indianapolis

What is your take on the Reuter's report about the NHS funding crisis and the budget increase of 7.5%? Will the NHS survive?

RVDaniels profile image

RVDaniels 7 years ago from Athens, GA

Thanks, Londongirl, You've answered some questions i'd had for a while. I hope our system can be like that some day. I don't mind paying tax when it does some good.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

I'm sure the NHS will survive - the political will and public support is there.

nemogbr 7 years ago

The Chief said, "That may be fine for women and children. But a man is not a man unless he takes care of himself."

Good quote and the guy was a chief.

Would this guy have told one of his people with a broken leg to take care of it himself?I think he would have gotten one their healers to help.

I'm reminded of those Quakers' barn raising. As far as I know all the neighbours help each other. I don't think there's a macho amongst them who proclaim that he is a man and can do it himself.

The NHS is similar to neighbours helping each other. You put money in the pot and take what is needed.

I have been paying for the whole of my working life (20 years) and only been once, to get stitches, for a gash on my hand.

I might not need it for another 20 years, but I'm happy knowing it is available.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Fantastic example, thanks for the comment. I agree with you, it's a co-operative system where we all pay, and all benefit. My Dad hasn't darkened the doors of a hospital for 30 years either, but if he needs it, it's there.

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Thanks for the excellent explanation of the NHS, LondonGirl. I only hope the Obama Administration sees the light and pushes through a single payer system. The profit motive and health care will always be incompatible.

Sainath SEO Updates 7 years ago

Nice hub... And thanks for sharing the page...

lossehelin profile image

lossehelin 7 years ago from Resende

@LondonGirl: Sorry for the late response. To answer your question, i am a nurse and will be working at Bradford Hospital.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Thanks William - I hope so, too. Glad you enjoyed the hub, Sainath.

Good luck with your new job, lossehelin, hope you enjoy it! There's great curry in Bradford, if that's to your taste (-:

Katmcgra 7 years ago

Hi London Girl, Isn't it true that if you are healthy, a Universal Healthcare is the way to go. However, if you are ill---God help you!

My family lives in New Castle, England. My cousin who is 50 years old was suffering pains in her chest. When she went to the doctor, they told her that she may have heart problems but she would have to see a cardiologist. The wait time to see that cardiologist was six months. Instead of dying from a heart attack, she PAID out of the system to see a cardiologist. Thank God she did, because she had some serious issues with her heart.

My uncle, who lives in Northern Ireland had a similar problem (my cousin's dad). He, too, PAID outside of the system and saw a specialists.

This is my biggest concern with a Universal Health Care. It is great for healthy people but if you are seriously ill, you may die before you get to see a specialists.

Thank you!

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Sorry to hear about your cousin's experiences in Newcastle. I don't think it's typical, though, generally people do pretty well under the NHS.

Waiting times have come down an awful lot over the past few years, which is great.

pgrundy 7 years ago

How did I miss this? I wish you could be right here saying all this to our idiot Congress and explaining it to people on the street. My fear is that we will end up with something like a requirement to buy private insurance and no public option, even though 75% of Amerians support some kind of public option as part of health care reform. I have not had insurance sincel losing my job in October of 2008 and it didn't cover what I needed when I had it--my partner and I incurred thousands in ER bills WITH insurance in 2007 & 2008. Our total combined time at the ER? 36 hours. Like Sweetie Pie I don't buy private insurance now because I can't afford it. Since the ER visit no one will even write a policy on me, but when they would, it wasn't $400 per month, it was more like $1100 per month. I can't afford $400 either though. Not without a good job, which I'm unlikely to get in Michigan in this economy at 56.

Anyway, enough of that bellyaching. I do think it will take some kind of crisis to get health care for Americans. Some plague or something that is made worse by the insanely bad state of our health care. Thanks LG. Great hub.

Singular Investor profile image

Singular Investor 7 years ago from Oxford

I'm with Iphigenia on this - my experience of the NHS is that is very poor - having burnt my foot recently and being  unable to walk I was told by my local NHS doctor to come to his surgery - when I said I coiuldn't walk he said "if it's important you'll find a way" then added for good measure "well it's a free service what do you expect"  - and this i s not the first time I have had this reaction from doctors - they refuse to visit people at home and seem to be under the impression that they are doing me a favour and they work for nothing, strangely I thought I funded the NHS through my taxes

My wife is French and what I hear about the French system tells me that it is far superior to what we get dished up - they are amazed whenl I tell them that doctors refuse to do house calls

The only good thing about the NHS is that it encourages you not to fall ill as you know that if you do you will get little help - you are in fact better off using the Internet to find out what's wrong with you and trying to cure yourself - it's just a pity that you still have to pay your doctor's wages

There is also the rising phenomenon of people in the UK pulling out their own teeth because they can no longer afford to visit the dentist - perhaps you could do a hub on why the British have such awful teeth ? In fact I might do one myself

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Hi Pam- glad you found it interesting. It's insane (in my view) that people in such an advanced country as the USA are in your position!

Singular - do British people have particularly awful teeth? It used to be the case ages ago, but I don't know if it still is. I'm over 30, with no fillings (and none needed).

Singular Investor profile image

Singular Investor 7 years ago from Oxford

LondonGirl - I don't have access to the statistics but anecdotally I would say yes - you have done very well to get to 30 with no fillings but I would put that down to your personal good hygiene and no doubt excellent parents too.

Three million people in this country now resort to DIY dentistry because they can no  longer afford to visit the dentist 

"Three million Brits have resorted to DIY dentistry including pulling teeth with pliers or a piece of string attached to a door knob, claims a new study.One in 12 have turned to "self treatment" - and as many again know someone who has - with glue, pins and chewing gum being used to fix various dental problems.Consumer watchdog Which? says it is not surprising people are coming up with their own extraordinary alternative therapy when it is so hard to find good treatment on the NHS"

Dentists have warned that cash strapped members of the public performing their own dental work could be doing serious damage to their oral health.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

London Girl, I am so glad that you have been explaining the British medical system in your excellent hubs. The big fight over here in America is so full of lies and twisted logic, I wonder if we'll ever get it through. I hope tons of people read your hubs to get a first hand glimpse at a system that was set up in pretty dire times.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Hi Singular - I don't think British teeth are anywhere near as bad as they used to be. My OH (31), me, my sisters (30, 26) and my brother (24), none of us have any fillings. Some of us have had teeth taken out, but only for overcrowding / orthodontic reasons.

I agree the dental part of the NHS needs sorting out, though.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London Author

Dolores, there is an awful lot of rubbish spouted about the NHS at the moment, in relation to American health care, you are dead right!

ryankett 7 years ago

Some excellent hubs about the NHS LondonGirl, its a shame that we are having to defend its integrity...

mercedes260e 7 years ago

Where do you get this information regarding who qualifies for free health treatment in the UK? Health tourism is rife by unqualified freeloaders stepping off planes in an advanced state of pregnancy. Hospital corridors are jam packed with illegal immigrants "demanding their rights" to be seen first. Every legal or illegal settler, brings in their elderly relatives for expensive procedures such as hip replacements. There are no checks for legitimacy at most hospitals. People who have paid no tax and are owed nothing by the UK are given priority over locals. Muslim women are given special facilities. You can no longer get a National Health dentist, and in any case the standard is very poor. The system is rubbish, and after a lifetime of paying tax contributions into the State system, most British people would rather go abroad to avoid infection and low standards. We don't have free healthcare, we paid a massive ammount for it. Now we have no chance of getting it.

joan 6 years ago



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toneyahuja 6 years ago from India

superb on uk health servcies

Private public NHS hospitals in London, Nottingham, glasgows and united kingdom. List of hospitals

CompelledToReadThisTerrificHub 6 years ago

It's funny how American right-wing extremists love to say that "Europe is going down", "Europe is going to become a Muslim continent", etc. Do they even realize that the financial meltdown is - to a large extent - a result of capitalistic greed (I'm not saying that capitalism is entirely evil, of course). Have they really researched on the different social welfare systems in Europe that have been helping millions of Europeans? Fine, the British NHS has some problems, but how about the universal health care systems in Sweden, France, etc? These ignorant people should probably do more research, but hey, they probably prefer listening to George W Bush and Sarah Palin.

As for the Muslim issue, I think it's funny how they think Britain would become a Muslim country. They probably don't understand how Britain is capable of separating church (or mosque or temple) from politics (because in America, there's "separation of church and state", but there's no such thing as "separation of church and politics").

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burning bush 6 years ago

If I have commented on this before, please attribute it to my incredibly poor memory of late and accept my apologies. That said, This is a well written hub, both informative and thoughtful. I miss my favourite city and the time I spent there. This hub serves as a reminder of setting proper priorities and how a caring society should behave. Thank you LondonGirl

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SilkThimble 5 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Very informative hub, and an excellent explanation of how the system works in the UK. A friend who moved from the US to the UK several years ago loves the NHS and feels she's received excellent care.

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LondonGirl 4 years ago from London Author

I'm pretty keen on the NHS too - glad you enjoyed it, BB.

priavtehealth 4 years ago

London girl provide good information for uk nhs or pmi who is better for me

XJGirl 4 years ago

I live in the US and have had a full-time job for over 20 years and have never paid for healthcare. It has always been provided by my employer at 100% free cost to me. When I make a Dr's appt I can get in usually within the same week and when I needed surgery I was scheduled immediately. I am not rich nor do I know people in high places. I am an ordinary middle class worker. I do not want a single payer, national healthcare system. Do we need some healthcare reform in this country - yes! Should it be national - NO! European countries ARE in trouble financially - just look at Greece and Spain and Italy. Anyone who says they aren't doesn't read a book or research any facts. 1.5 million employees under the NHS seems like a bloated, over-priced system. I was born in England and have friends there and it is not as great as everyone thinks. I'll take US healthcare any day and twice on Sundays.

Lambert R. Abeyatunge. MD,., FRCS(Eng) 3 years ago

Please instruct me as to the procedure to obtain my NHS number !.


I worked in UK from May 1966 until June 1969 at various hospitals, in and around London, Isle of White (Ryde) and Sunderland. I worked again from July 1970 until June 1971 at Mayday Hospital. I need to know my NHS number. Please instruct me as to the procedure to obtain the number.

Thank you.

Lambert R. Abeyatunge. MD., FRCS(Eng)

702-595-1932 (mobile #).

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