Just one more reason to reject the socialized medicine prescribed by Democrats

Record numbers of Britons are travelling abroad for medical treatment to escape the NHS – with 70,000 patients expected to fly out this year.

And by the end of the decade 200,000 “health tourists” will fly as far as Malaysa and South Africa for major surgery to avoid long waiting lists and the rising threat of superbugs, according to a new report.

read more | digg story

  1. Upwards of 100,000 people “flee” the United States for health care services abroad.

  2. bd

    Where does your 100,000 number come from. What source?

  3. bd

    Jamelle, if your number is accurate then that means:

    US- .033% fly out for healthcare reasons.
    Britain- .115% fly out for healthcare reasons.

    That means 5 times as many Britons do this than Americans.

    You DON’T see a problem in Britain?

    We may have a flawed system, but this is just more proof socialized medicine does not work.

  4. My number comes from this article:


    Though, ideological differences aside, there is a serious flaw in your reasoning. There is no connection between the amount of medical tourism and the efficacy of the system. How would this sound:

    “Several thousand Americans leave the United States to live in decidedly illiberal countries – Singapore, Jordan etc. – therefore American democracy must not work.”

    You can’t make that jump, since two unrelated issues are at stake. My point in the first comment was simply to point out that it doesn’t matter how many people leave to get treatment elsewhere.

  5. Janell, If Americans were lining up to go to Socialist Countries BECAUSE they are Socialist, then it would be saying something against American Capitalism… Last I looked though the lines to go live in Hugo Chavez’s Socialist dictatorship in Venezuela were not real long…

    But when folks have to resort to travel to a foregn country to get necessary medical care it is a pretty clear indication that that health care system is not working. It is not like someone goes on Vacation to India and decides that while I am here I think I’ll get that Hip replaced…

    Yes people in the US do at times go abroad for medical care but for the most part it is for a specific treatment method or procedure that is not approved ay the AMA.

    Thanks for your comment


  6. Darrell, as one who lives in the UK, and one who knows a thing or three about the NHS, let me tell you your conclusion is wrong.

    Maybe 70,000 people go abroad for medical treatment from the UK, but I’d like to know what kind of treatment? Plastic surgery? Fertility treatment? It is a big fat lie to say that people in the UK need to go abroad to recieve “necessary” medical treatment, they do not. My Mother had a kidney removed last week by NHS doctors in an NHS hospital, with no problems whatsoever. ALL “necessary” medical treatment is carried out completely free in the UK, and that is a great thing we are rightly proud of. It amazes me that the richest nation on earth makes no provision for the health of its citizens….

    The people going abroad from the UK for medical treatment, I’ll wager, are generally going for some minor or frivolous treatment, and are wealthy enough to beat waiting times by travelling abroad.

    The NHS might not be perfect, but it does a DAMN fine job.

    God Bless the NHS.

  7. Well FreeLuncher It just so happens that the Telegraph ran a similar article and since the Telegraph allow readers comments some of those comments were not quite as supportive of the NHS as you are. Here are a few..

    My husband works exclusively in private hospitals, and enjoys a far higher working environment there.

    I would never allow either myself or any member of my family to be put at the mercy of the NHS. I’d sooner perform a major operation myself.

    Its not a ‘National Health Service’, its a World Health Service. How can the NHS ever ‘catch up’ when it has an infinate number of patients to treat? Most of whom have’nt paid into the system. It will never, ever have enough money because of this. If it just treated those who it was intended to treat (BRITISH citizens) it would at least stand a chance. So Brits get the worst deal – they have to pay twice if they want (good) treatment – once through their taxes (for the NHS) and again for private treatment either here or abroad.

    People pulling their own teeth out? Only in Blighty! NEW LABOUR HANG YOUR HEADS IN SHAME!!

    After having worked in NHS, I tend to agree with the article and most of the comments by readers. Most of the NHS trust CEOs are mediocres and lack innovative ideas. Degradation is in almost every segment. I came across cases where even written contracts are not honoured. Its not the funding, but management which needs to be blamed for all the ills.….

    As a kidney transplant recipient, I’m glad I live abroad (in the United States). My donor lives in the UK and, as a UK citizen myself, I investigated having the transplant done in the UK.

    From initial contact to actual transplant in the Strathclyde health district, the elapsed time would have been one year to fifteen months (perhaps). Here in Texas, the elapsed time was two months.

    I don’t understand the totemic value of a government running a health service. It cannot ever be efficient or deliver top-quality service and will always be, first and foremost, jobs for the boys.….

    My wife and I would love to move back to England. The ONLY reason we don’t is the dreadful quality of medical care. Here in the U.S. we are blessed with superb. efficient, high quality care that makes the NHS a dangerous prospect by comparison. We did move back to England for a three year stint in the 90s. Our GP there was a wonderful doctor who was literally run off her feet. She told me of some her elderly patients in hospital literally dying of starvation. They were unable to feed themselves, no one helped them and when the nurses came to collect trays, their’s were still full. Despite that they were brought tray after tray of food which of course remained uneaten. We were disgusted.
    I’m sure that is seldom the case but we’d be afraid to be treated at a British hospital. Government statements that things are fine and that problems are a few and far between is a disgraceful claim. Reading (above) of the people who travel abroad for treatment is scary especially when considered that few can afford this.

    There must be something essentially wrong in British thinking about healthcare delivery and the unassailable supremacy of the medical profession.

    Brit doctors essentially designed the Canadian healthcare system and if you think the NHS sucks, come to Canada where there are literally thousands of unemployed doctors doing jobs like driving taxis!

    Learn from the French?

    Like Simon Evans, who commented on 28 October on your article of the same date, I live in the US, and being over 65 I am on Medicare since since 1996. In addition, I am enrolled in a Medicare-related private Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). My total premium for Medicare plus that private insurance is $ 80 per month, withheld from my monthly government Social Security payment (government old-age pension). During the past eight years I had to have surgery three times. Waiting time for seeing my GP or a Specialist (Consultant) averaged 3 days; waiting time for having surgery in a local top-notch hospital averaged 6 days. My most serious (and most urgent) surgery involved implanting a cardiac defibrillator under the skin just above my heart, with wires leading into my heart. Normally I don’t see the bills (they go directly to the insurance company), but in this case I saw it by accident. Total cost of all tests, the surgery, and the cost of the defibrillator was $ 118.000 (that defibr unit alone cost $ 40.000!). My co-payment for all that was $ 500, and that included hospitalization in the New York/Presbytarian hospital, where there are max. two people per room with private bathroom. The waiting time for that procedure was 0 days, as it was regarded as an emergency. Who says that medical care in the US is unaffordable?
    Hans Bryers in New York City.

    In mid July 2003 my wife needed radiation treatment. This was not available in UK until November; privately or under the National Health. Considered France but settled on Japan. Arrived in August, started the treatment at the best cancer hospital as an out-patient under the Japanese National Health at the beginning of September. No chance of any kind of refund from the UK National Health. Been in Japan ever since.

    “Would healthcare in Britain force you to go abroad?”

    Sadly, the NHS has damaged my health so badly that I am not well enough to travel abroad…)o:

    having waited 12 months for an elbow operation which was promised within 6 months and then was performed by surgeons from abroad to reduce waiting lists…I would certainly have surgery done abroad as long as the NHS paid for it because they were not able to meet exsisting targets.
    My GP referred me to a Specialist on 12 Sept and I was given an appointment on 29 Oct. Two days before the appointment I was told that the appointment has been cancelled since it was the wrong speciality. As I wait to hear about the next appointment I plan to visit India in December.
    The NHS has good facilities, but is inaccessible because of the waiting list. Moreover they hardly care for your suffering. The private treatment is inaccessible since it is expensive.
    The Government should reduce the waiting list and permit Indian corporate hospitals to set up units here to make treatment in the private sector affordable.

    These are just some of the Comments, and there are some who do sing praises of the NHS, but for the most part it is clear that there is a problem there…

    Have a nice Day


  8. Darrell, in the UK the Telegraph is known as the Torygraph, it has a famously reactionary editorial line and readership.
    The Telegraph does not offer a fair or balanced opinion on anything.
    May I suggest reading another paper?

  9. Freeluncher;

    So you are saying that the comments that I posted from the Telegraph are not real or don’t matter because those that read that particular paper don’t agree with you pollitically?

    That guy really didn’t have to wait 12 months for surgery on his elbow, and when it was performed it was done so by surgeons from abroad to reduce waiting lists…

    The radiation treatment that the guy had to take his wife to Japan for wasn’t really needed?

    Waiting 6 weeks for an appointment to see a specialist only to have the appointment cancelled because the appointment was made with the wrong specialist didn’t really happen right? It is something that the Torygraph made up?

    The article I linked to was in the Daily Mail… and despite what you think of the Telegraph’s editors the reader comments are from people just like you and me.

    Here is another headline for you… More than half of NHS workers are sick of their jobs… Maybe you will like the source since it is the far left Gardian..

    May I suggest a new pair fo Glasses for you Freeluncher… Those rose colored glasses you are view the NHS with are distorting your view.

    Again have a Nice day


  10. Darrell,
    No, I am not saying the comments you quoted are “not real” or “dont matter”. I am saying they do not represent a fair and balanced cross section of the opinion of the average Brit. They are real views, but there are other views.

    Now, you ask me to get a new pair of glasses, but I suggest it is your good self who needs your eyes tested? The bulk of your last comment is on something I did not say! Where did I say it was “made up”? Straw, and man spring to mind…

    You might find this article of interest –

    It explains that many of these operations are to avoid unacceptable delays. The NHS can pay for the cost of the procedure afterwards, it is still picking up the tab afterwards. People are not running away or trying to “escape” the NHS, far from it, that is why there are such long WAITING LISTS, but the demand is such for their services, but thanks to underfunding, and a lack of qualified nurses it cannot meet the demand for its services at the moment, which is why those who can afford to pay up front for treatment abroad as opposed to wait a few weeks, are doing so and reclaiming the costs on the NHS.

    Have a nice day,

  11. Freeluncher you see that is my point exactly… Socialized Medicine can not produce the healthcare professionals needed on a national level. Bottom line is that someone can not spend years in College, Med School, & Internship and expect to make the wages that a socialized system provides. The whole health care system suffers because the best and brightest students choose fields in which they can earn a good living at.

    as far as my interpretation of your earlier comment goes;

    >…as the Torygraph, it has a famously reactionary editorial line and readership…<

    Since we were discussing the comments in the Telegraph I interpreted that to mean that their comments were reactionary and exagerated…

    In the link you provided don’t you think it is an indictment on the NHS to have to have the European Court Of Justice force them to pay for medical treatment that they were obviously unable do themselves.

    Have a nice day


  12. Well Darrell, I will not deny that the NHS has problems, it has many. As I said in my first comment I think, it is not perfect. But the IDEA is still as good as ever – Universal health care from cradle to grave for all citizens for free, paid for from general taxation.

    Many, arguably most, of the NHS’s problems, are problems of funding or politics, or both.

    I just find it incomprehensible why anyone would think the idea of a national health service a ‘bad thing’?? Certainly, it can’t be bad if you are spending as much saving people as you are preparing to kill them? As someone once said similar – One day the hospitals will be over-funded, with excessive staff, equipment, and capacities, while the military are in the street raising a raffle for war.

  13. Freeluncher;

    First off socialized medicine is not free by any means… all you are doing is shifting the responsibility of paying for individual health care from the individual to the taxpayer. Someone once said that If you think Healthcare is expensive now wait until it is free..

    Like I said in my last comment, the quality and quantity of people entering healthcare as a profession decreases. Students will not incur Hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to enter a profession in which he has little or no hope of being rewarded for his/her hard work and investment. The best and brightest will go into other fields and overall healthcare will diminish.

    Finally can you honestly say that you like having some government bureaucrat making your healthcare decisions for you?

  14. Darrell,

    I’d rather have a government bureaucrat make decisions on the health service as having a corporate fat-cat profiteer making them. At least the government bureaucrat is accountable (allegedly!) to the population. All the profiteer is interested in is the bottom line. If you think socialised health care is expensive or poor, wait til you see for-profit health care!

    As for the student and debt problem you cite, this is a political problem. If students were freed from mountains of debt, and nurses paid a proper living wage, the problem would cease to exist.

    Nothing you have said would lead me to think that universal health care provision is a bad thing.

    What exactly is wrong with taxpayers paying for the essential health services they require?

  15. zeko

    Lets remeber Great Britain has a population of approximately 61 million and America has population of 300 million so that 70,000 is a lot bigger in Great Britain.

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