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lilly1326001
05-01-2013, 03:49 AM
Is health care specifically tied to your job if you live in England?

Parametric
05-01-2013, 03:51 AM
No. Not unless you have additional private healthcare funded by your employer. Everyone is covered by the NHS.

lilly1326001
05-01-2013, 03:59 AM
Thanks for the quick reply! Just clarifying: the government doesn't make it cheaper to get healthcare through an employer (by not paying taxes on it) opposed to getting it individually?

Parametric
05-01-2013, 04:21 AM
Thanks for the quick reply! Just clarifying: the government doesn't make it cheaper to get healthcare through an employer (by not paying taxes on it) opposed to getting it individually?

I think that's a fundamentally American question that doesn't translate to the British system. I don't need to acquire healthcare, through an employer or any other method. It's a universal right that I'm entitled to as a British citizen. Some high-powered employers offer additional private healthcare benefits, but 99% of the time you can get along just fine with free public healthcare.

lilly1326001
05-01-2013, 04:49 AM
Thanks Para!

BunnyMaz
05-01-2013, 06:05 AM
Yeah, it isn't a thing you get given through a job, it's a right. And in fact, we have programs in place to increase access to healthcare for the poorest in society. For example:

Prescription medication is already a lot cheaper than in some other countries, but people in receipt of certain benefits, unemployed people and retired people get free prescriptions.

Some dental care is free for those groups as well.

Contraception can be accessed for free if you're under the age of 25 - IUD, condoms, the pill, you can get it all gratis. In the case of condoms, the free ones are available in sexual health centres, but anything on prescription is free at the place you get it from. (That said, I had my IUD put in last year and still didn't pay for it... I think it's specifically the prescription stuff that has the age limit?)

Also, the NHS is technically an insurance-type thing, but we don't get billed for healthcare. Say, for example, I broke my leg. I wouldn't need to bring any documents to the hospital with me. I wouldn't have to talk about costs at any point. I would never see even as much as an itemised list of what my care cost.

Re: the above, I'm not completely sure what you're asking, but I think I can guess? Does it help if I say the NHS isn't an opt-in OR opt-out thing. Everyone gets it from birth, and although your NI contributions are listed separately on your wage slip under the taxes, there is no option to not pay it.

Cath
05-01-2013, 01:57 PM
What others have said, in the UK access to healthcare is a right and provided to all (mostly) free of charge. There is no fee to access a doctor, and nobody is denied care. Some groups may have to pay for prescriptions, but that's a fixed cost.

People living in the UK can purchase private healthcare if they want to supplement the care they receive on the NHS, but they get the same doctors and nurses (usually after finishing their NHS shifts) and old NHS equipment, so I've never understood why anyone would choose to do that.

Buffysquirrel
05-01-2013, 03:13 PM
Well, homeless people can find it difficult to get healthcare, but yeah, generally it's free-at-the-point-of-service for everyone. People with certain medical conditions, eg cancer, diabetes, get free prescriptions, and I believe pregnant women get free dental care?

Torgo
05-01-2013, 03:15 PM
It's worth pointing out that the government over here just opened up the NHS to the private sector health care firms that a lot of them invest in as individuals, the hounds. The NHS that is free at the point of delivery and and open to all is being legislated out of existence. It's a sad and shocking story that the BBC, to their eternal shame, has largely failed to report.

So things might not be quite the same in a few years' time, I'm afraid.

ClareGreen
05-01-2013, 03:40 PM
Prescribed female contraception - the pill, the injection, etc - is free for as long as you need it or want it. I've no idea about IUDs.

Condoms are only free from the sexual health centres, but can be bought from any chemist or supermarket.

In comparison to the US, we pay a ludicrous amount of tax. We have a sales tax and an income tax and car tax and a house tax and many, many more; part of that is called 'National Insurance', and ostensibly that's what we pay to get our healthcare and our pensions. It's not that we don't pay for it, it's that we've already paid for it as a nation.

If you want quicker service or access to procedures that the NHS doesn't cover, you can go privately. Private insurance options also exist, but if you don't mind waiting the NHS will cover most things.

shaldna
05-01-2013, 06:23 PM
Is health care specifically tied to your job if you live in England?

No. Some employers have private or semi-private schemes, such as Benenden, but they are optional.


Thanks for the quick reply! Just clarifying: the government doesn't make it cheaper to get healthcare through an employer (by not paying taxes on it) opposed to getting it individually?

The vast majority of healthcare here is free - the exceptions being things like non-essential cosmetic surgery etc.



Prescription medication is already a lot cheaper than in some other countries, but people in receipt of certain benefits, unemployed people and retired people get free prescriptions.

England still pays? Perscription meds are free here for everyone. Although they used to cost 3.65 unless you were under 16, over 65 or unemployed.



Also, the NHS is technically an insurance-type thing, but we don't get billed for healthcare. Say, for example, I broke my leg. I wouldn't need to bring any documents to the hospital with me. I wouldn't have to talk about costs at any point. I would never see even as much as an itemised list of what my care cost.

To clarify, everyone who works pays what's called National Insurance, which all goes into a big pot to pay for everyone's healthcare (among other things) it's addtional to things like your taxes, and you still ahve to pay it even if you have a private health scheme.


Re: the above, I'm not completely sure what you're asking, but I think I can guess? Does it help if I say the NHS isn't an opt-in OR opt-out thing. Everyone gets it from birth, and although your NI contributions are listed separately on your wage slip under the taxes, there is no option to not pay it.

This.

Priene
05-01-2013, 06:33 PM
National Insurance is in effect a form of taxation, but it was never designed to pay for health care. In its original form (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Insurance_%28United_Kingdom%29) it was there to pay for pensions and other forms of state benefit.

girlyswot
05-01-2013, 09:47 PM
We actually don't pay much more tax, on average, than in the US. See this (http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/10/focus-4) table of effective tax rates (including direct and indirect taxes).

We certainly pay less in tax than the average American would pay in tax + health insurance. The cost of healthcare (whether paid via taxation or by individuals) in the US is dramatically higher than anywhere else in the world. Oddly, this isn't all that effective (http://healthworkscollective.com/dikedrummond/39231/cost-healthcare-and-average-life-expectancy-world-averages-show-usa-massive-outli).

BunnyMaz
05-01-2013, 10:56 PM
It's worth pointing out that the government over here just opened up the NHS to the private sector health care firms that a lot of them invest in as individuals, the hounds. The NHS that is free at the point of delivery and and open to all is being legislated out of existence. It's a sad and shocking story that the BBC, to their eternal shame, has largely failed to report.

So things might not be quite the same in a few years' time, I'm afraid.

This is true and infuriating. That even the Beeb can't be trusted to report on something as important as the stealth dismantling of the NHS is criminal.

That said, we still get the same access to stuff. Services are as accessible as they ever were - the difference is private companies run for profit, so when they take over little things in the NHS, the result tends to be drops in quality. MRSA became a problem following the privatisation of cleaning services in hospitals, for example.


We actually don't pay much more tax, on average, than in the US. See this (http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/10/focus-4) table of effective tax rates (including direct and indirect taxes).

We certainly pay less in tax than the average American would pay in tax + health insurance. The cost of healthcare (whether paid via taxation or by individuals) in the US is dramatically higher than anywhere else in the world. Oddly, this isn't all that effective (http://healthworkscollective.com/dikedrummond/39231/cost-healthcare-and-average-life-expectancy-world-averages-show-usa-massive-outli).

Indeed! I wouldn't swap our system for America's any day of the week. Say what you like about it, but we get incredible value for money with the NHS. I remember when I was working in holiday insurance, our customers would rant and complain about how expensive insurance for holidays to America would cost them. Until they needed healthcare out there. They were shocked - absolutely astounded - to find out that, say, ambulance use and bed use were charged for, and how much everything costs.

ClareGreen
05-02-2013, 12:37 AM
We actually don't pay much more tax, on average, than in the US. See this (http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/10/focus-4) table of effective tax rates (including direct and indirect taxes).

We certainly pay less in tax than the average American would pay in tax + health insurance. The cost of healthcare (whether paid via taxation or by individuals) in the US is dramatically higher than anywhere else in the world. Oddly, this isn't all that effective (http://healthworkscollective.com/dikedrummond/39231/cost-healthcare-and-average-life-expectancy-world-averages-show-usa-massive-outli).

I'd be interested to see the table for lower and higher earners, and how those figures were calculated - and it may be worth nothing that a pound in the UK has roughly the same buying power as a dollar in the US. The actual exchange rate doesn't seem to matter.

And yes, the cost of healthcare in the US is insane, or seems to be from where I'm sitting. I owe the NHS a debt I can never pay, and to watch it being sold off is heartbreaking.

crunchyblanket
05-02-2013, 01:48 AM
What others have said, in the UK access to healthcare is a right and provided to all (mostly) free of charge. There is no fee to access a doctor, and nobody is denied care. Some groups may have to pay for prescriptions, but that's a fixed cost.

People living in the UK can purchase private healthcare if they want to supplement the care they receive on the NHS, but they get the same doctors and nurses (usually after finishing their NHS shifts) and old NHS equipment, so I've never understood why anyone would choose to do that.

working in both private and NHS hospitals,.I've found the NHS better-equipped (on the whole) despite a lack of funding. We also have more than one consultant at the private hospital who was very nearly kicked out of his NHS role - rumour suggests he jumped before he could be pushed.
I've experienced both behind the scenes and would go NHS every time.

Cath
05-02-2013, 02:38 AM
We actually don't pay much more tax, on average, than in the US. See this (http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/10/focus-4) table of effective tax rates (including direct and indirect taxes).

We certainly pay less in tax than the average American would pay in tax + health insurance. The cost of healthcare (whether paid via taxation or by individuals) in the US is dramatically higher than anywhere else in the world. Oddly, this isn't all that effective (http://healthworkscollective.com/dikedrummond/39231/cost-healthcare-and-average-life-expectancy-world-averages-show-usa-massive-outli).

Total tangent, but there was a study done in the UK -- the Black Report -- in 1980 showed that the bigger the difference in quality of life between the richest and poorest in society, which is directly influenced by health and social care, the lower the life expectancy for all people in that society. The report was buried for years but emerged again after three further studies in the 1980s and 90s came to the same conclusion. Michael Marmott, who conducted the final study, wrote a fascinating book called "The Status Syndrome (http://www.amazon.com/Status-Syndrome-Standing-Affects-Longevity/dp/0805078541/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367447800&sr=1-2)" on the subject.

evilrooster
05-02-2013, 09:52 AM
I loved the NHS when I lived in the UK. Had two babies in NHS hospitals, one by C-section. Wonderful care throughout the pregnancy; really good after-birth care from the health visitor, too (she came regularly for the first month or so to weigh the baby and check on both our health).

Total marginal cost (as in, the difference between what I would have paid had I not had a baby and what I did pay) to me: zero. Total marginal cost to an unemployed person: also zero, for the same standard of care.

aruna
05-04-2013, 09:48 AM
It's a universal right that I'm entitled to as a British citizen. Some high-powered employers offer additional private healthcare benefits, but 99% of the time you can get along just fine with free public healthcare.

You don't have to be a British citizen to get NHS free treatment. I and my two kids, and later my husband, all lived for years in the UK as German citizens and we got free NHS treatment. They don't even ask if you pay taxes in the UK (my husband didn't and I only paid Class Two National Insurance).




People living in the UK can purchase private healthcare if they want to supplement the care they receive on the NHS, but they get the same doctors and nurses (usually after finishing their NHS shifts) and old NHS equipment, so I've never understood why anyone would choose to do that.

You don't get the same doctors and nurses. The one drawback of the NHS is that it can take months to see a specialist; you are put on a list and then are given a date and summoned to the hospital. At least, that's how it is in Eastbourne.

Unless, of course, it's an emergency.

My husband's German private insurance was valid in the UK, and he was able to see specialists of his choice right away, ie within a few days. There is a private hospital in Eastbourne that caters to such people. Also, my daughter wanted to see a gynecologist and I knew it would take months on he NHS. So I found a private UK one through google and she got an appointment the next week. We then paid it privately, submit it to husband's private provider, and voila. 100% refund.

So that's the benefit of private health care in the UK: quicker service, and choice of specialist. You don't seem to have many doctors (specialists) with their own practice on the high street.

However, when we went to one specialist, I was surprised to see our own NHS GP had a brass plate with his name on it in the same building --- obviously, he was operating as a private GP after hours!

mirandashell
05-04-2013, 02:28 PM
That's really the only advantage the private section has over the NHS. As far as emergency medicine goes, the NHS rules. And for ongoing chronic conditions such as CFS or arthritis, it's really good. It tends to be non-urgent operations and such where it falls short.

Cath
05-04-2013, 02:28 PM
Correction: you don't get the same doctors and nurses. The one drawback of the NHS is that it can take months to see a specialist; you are put on a list and then are given a date and summoned to the hospital. At least, that's how it is in Eastbourne.
Actually, in many cases you do. Many NHS staff also work as private doctors/nurses, etc. You many not see the exact same person, but it's highly likely that they also work for the NHS. I worked in healthcare in the UK for a long time and not so very long ago, so I do have some experience here.

aruna
05-04-2013, 02:53 PM
That may be the case, Cath, but certainly, in my experience using private insurance in the UK, we always had the choice and got appointments quickly. So I can understand why some people like to have it.

The lack of which was the one thing I didn't like about the NHS!

clee984
05-04-2013, 02:58 PM
The NHS is amazing, amazing, AH-may-zing. When my mother was terminal, the level of care she received was unbelievable, and didn't cost anything (except for her prescriptions, which cost a token amount, I think it was 6 quid).

Here is the great Tony Benn (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LnY-jy_cE0) dicussing the NHS in the Michael Moore documentary 'Sicko'. He's right, if the NHS were to be dismantled, there would be a revolution. That's how great it is. (Ignore the mawkish Michael Moore bits).

EDIT: No, I take it back, now I think about it, my mother's prescriptions didn't cost anything - I've just remembered, I applied for a refund of the money I'd paid for her pain medication, and I got it.

crunchyblanket
05-04-2013, 10:12 PM
However, when we went to one specialist, I was surprised to see our own NHS GP had a brass plate with his name on it in the same building --- obviously, he was operating as a private GP after hours!

Nearly every consultant/doctor (and a good proportion of the nurses) in the private hospital I work at also work for the NHS. The same is true of most private hospitals in the UK. It's very rare to find a private doctor who doesn't also do NHS work - often, they're older doctors who've retired from the NHS and continue to work privately.

aruna
05-05-2013, 08:41 AM
That makes sense, I guess. I can't imagine it would be easy to make a living ONLY as a private doctor in the UK.

It's similar here in Germany. Doctors work for both public and private insurers. Very few are exclusively private.

shaldna
05-05-2013, 11:17 AM
You don't get the same doctors and nurses. The one drawback of the NHS is that it can take months to see a specialist; you are put on a list and then are given a date and summoned to the hospital.

Sometimes.

When I was pregnant I saw a different midwife every visit - which, obivouly isn't ideal. For routine treatment you will see whoever is available at the time.

But for specialist or referred treatment, you should get the same consultant each time.

Of course, there is a crazy long waiting list for anything on the NHS - just to see my GP for a general appointment will take 2 weeks, waiting lists for some things are huge - neurology for example takes between 9 and 18 months in NI - despite my issues being something unusual and rather urgent, it was still many months before I saw a specialist.

That said, I see the same doctor each time. And my daughter sees the same specialist each time for her breathing trouble.


However, when we went to one specialist, I was surprised to see our own NHS GP had a brass plate with his name on it in the same building --- obviously, he was operating as a private GP after hours!

This is not uncommon. My GP and his partners opened their own surgery with their own cash. They operate primarily NHS and claim back treatment costs from the government.

crunchyblanket
05-05-2013, 01:43 PM
Yes, I've been seeing the same rheumatologist for every appointment since 2009. It might take a while between appointments but at least he knows my history.

Mr Flibble
05-05-2013, 04:09 PM
Just to reiterate what Priene said earlier - NI contributions are not for the NHS, mostly they go towards your pension and other benefits. You can, in fact, opt out (of some of it, not all) if you then put the amount into a private pension (called contracting out). The NHS is paid for out of other general taxes (supposedly including tobacco and alcohol duty). So if you don;t pay tax (or duty) the cost to you is zip. Along with hospital and doctor care, there's reduced dentists bills (free for certain people) and reduced optician's bills (again free to some people, including glasses)

As for waiting lists...depends very much on the problem, and where you live to an extent. My Dad was diagnosed as needing a bypass and got one within 48 hours (and half of that was needing to do tests first). My father in law had to wait a few weeks for a stent at the same hospital - but that was while they were doing a load of work to add more beds etc.

My husband had to go to A&E last week. 3 hours, from being persuaded by the NHS Direct (health care helpline, that helps you decide if you need a doctor or a hospital, among other things) that he needed to go to A&E, through a raft of tests, including an ECG, to getting the all clear. Though if you go at pub turning out time....

And yup, all free, no employer required.

mirandashell
05-05-2013, 04:18 PM
And going to A&E can also vary according to what might be wrong with you. If you collapse on the street, you get rushed in and examined straight away. As you should be. But if you turn up with a sore finger, you could wait hours. As you should.

Whenever I hear someone complaining about waiting hours in A&E, I just shrug.

crunchyblanket
05-05-2013, 04:24 PM
Triage is bloody difficult. Obviously urgent cases are pushed to the top - heart attacks, strokes, seizures, unconsciousness, vomiting blood, severed limbs, major trauma, serious head injuries, that kind of thing.

Everything else is a bit of a grey area. People react differently to different levels of pain and discomfort. Someone in A&E told me we had two patients in as many days, complaining of stomach pains and bloody diarrhoea. The one who made the least fuss turned out to have extensive bowel necrosis - the one who pitched a fit about waiting had a relatively minor case of food poisoning. It's very hard to prioritise on symptoms alone.

Although I have no sympathy for those who turn up to A&E with sprains, colds and the like. The NHS has provided minor injury units and walk-in centres for just such ailments and still people insist on holding up A&E queues. You can't just turn them away either, and this (combined with woefully low levels of staff) is partly to blame for long A&E waits.

ETA: lack of knowledge is another problem. People often don't know how to treat common ailments at home.

mirandashell
05-05-2013, 04:27 PM
That's why I try not to bitch too much about waiting. Although when you're in pain, it can be really really hard! So my belated apologies to any nurse I've ever pissed off......

Becky Black
05-05-2013, 11:10 PM
I think I must be lucky with my GP. I can usually have an appointment within a couple of days. A few weeks ago when my back went out I rang up and got an appointment for 40 minutes later! LOL. It was with a different doctor than my usual one, but as long as they could give me codeine I'd have seen anyone. :D

The last couple of years I've had a trapped nerve, sciatica and loads of bother with my back, so had loads of GP visits, an appointment with a specialist, physiotherapy, drugs, acupuncture, and an MRI and all it's cost me is the prescription charge for the drugs.

I know from chatting to American friends online how hard it is for them to get their heads round how it works over here - and vice versa. Like when American women talk about "my gynocologist". I saw a British character say that in a film once and thought "So this was written by an American." It just doesn't work that way here. You don't go directly to a gynecologist. You go to your GP and if needed they'll refer you to a gynecologist, like they'd refer you to any specialist. Specialist medical services are generally accessed through your GP. Aside from in an emergency, the GP is the first port of call.

The "Ask your doctor about X drug" type adverts are baffling to Brits too. Prescription drugs are not advertised to the public in the UK like they are in US. I don't go to my doc and suggest he prescribes something I saw on the telly. We kind of assume the doctors know what they are doing and we take the drugs they prescribe. Maybe that's a fault in us. Maybe we should look a bit closer at how we're being treated and get better informed.

shaldna
05-06-2013, 11:31 AM
I think I must be lucky with my GP. I can usually have an appointment within a couple of days. A few weeks ago when my back went out I rang up and got an appointment for 40 minutes later! LOL. It was with a different doctor than my usual one, but as long as they could give me codeine I'd have seen anyone. :D

Ours are awful time wise - you can expect to wait 2 weeks for a non-urgent appointment.

They used to do what they called 'open surgery' every morning - where you just turned up, took a number and waited. But they stopped that and went appointment only - which is a disaster - I mean, if I knew I was going to be ill in 2 weeks then that's great, but generally, not so fortunate. That said, they do have a function where the doctors take calls at certain times of the day so you can phone in.

Personally, if I'm ill and know I need a doctor, I tend to wait until the evening and then go and see the out of hours doctor at the minor injuries unit - virtually no waiting time, you get seen that day and referred on if necessary.


I know from chatting to American friends online how hard it is for them to get their heads round how it works over here - and vice versa. Like when American women talk about "my gynocologist". I saw a British character say that in a film once and thought "So this was written by an American." It just doesn't work that way here. You don't go directly to a gynecologist. You go to your GP and if needed they'll refer you to a gynecologist, like they'd refer you to any specialist. Specialist medical services are generally accessed through your GP. Aside from in an emergency, the GP is the first port of call.

Tell me about it. I had to wait months from my referral to neurology to actually get an appointment, and then another wait for a scan.

I've been waiting on a gyne appointment since november.

This is a big issue with the NHS - the waiting times. There's always a big drive to reduce them, and for the most part people understand that there's a lot of pressure on the system and it's dealing with it the best it can, and it is free, so really, what more do you want? But at the same time, as a patient it can be frustrating when you are waiting months for treatment.

Maythe
05-06-2013, 11:48 AM
My GP has a queuing system. Just turn up, take a number and wait. It can be quite a long wait but you do get seen the day you want to get seen. It seems a bit nuts to have a two week wait when you might have, say, a chest infection. In two weeks it'll either have cleared up or you'll be in hospital.

ClareGreen
05-06-2013, 11:56 AM
My GP only does appointments for nurses, the Tuesday evening/Saturday mornings they're open for those who work, and special clinics.

Everyone else gets to ring up at 8am (or show up at 8am) and try to make an appointment that day. Don't leave it to 8:15, or there won't be any left unless it's an emergency...

crunchyblanket
05-06-2013, 12:36 PM
My GP has a queueing system on top of a certain amount of prebooked appointments. You can't ring and book for the same day - usually the earliest you can get an appointment is three days' time, and that's if you ring early ;)

BunnyMaz
05-06-2013, 07:39 PM
My GP has a fairly sensible mis-mash of the two ways of doing it. For general appointments (I've had a cough for a month and want it looked at, I think I might have the flu, I don't know what this weird rash is) you call between 08:30 and 9am for an appointment the same day - several GPs in the building and you can either choose to ask for a specific one or accept whoever is available.

But then if you need follow-up appointments related to the first one, or ongoing treatment, those can and usually are booked in advance at reception. You can also turn up when the surgery opens and see if you can wait there for an appointment, although generally if I can't get an on-the-day appointment for something I need, I find it easier and quicker to just go to the walk-in centre in town.

I dislike my GP surgery for some reasons, but the appointment system makes sense to me. Admittedly my issues are much improved now that I just always insist on seeing the same GP at my surgery - he's not only the best one there IMHO, but he has an excellent memory for his patients.

To clarify for our researcher OP:

There are several GP surgeries in any given town. When you move to a new area it's normal to pick a local surgery and register with them - you can only go to the GP surgery you're registered at. There are usually a few GPs in any one surgery, plus a couple of nurses who come in on certain days of the week who can take blood, perform blood pressure checks and might take appointments related to sexual health and other stuff. Because surgeries are always busy, my town has restrictions on registering - if you're registered with a GP in the area, you can't move to another one unless you have a good reason, such as moving house.

But there are also walk-in centres. There is one in my town. Large buildings, lots of staff where anyone in town, from locals to people who're visiting, can just walk in, tell reception they need to see a doctor, and wait for one to be free. People go to walk in centres for everything from minor injuries that need rapid attention but aren't life threatening (like when I sliced my thumb open cutting meat, but wasn't bleeding much) to stuff they'd normally go to their GP for but can't get the appointment.

Then there are individual specialised clinics about the place, like the sexual health clinic in my town that takes care of contraception, pregnancy care and advice, STI testing and distribution of free condoms etc.

If you need anything big like an MRI, or surgery, of course you go to a hospital.

Of course, the info I've just given you is spotty and based mostly on my experiences of using the NHS - call it an uneducated healthcare recipient's knowledge.

Kevin Nelson
05-08-2013, 09:36 AM
You don't go directly to a gynecologist. You go to your GP and if needed they'll refer you to a gynecologist, like they'd refer you to any specialist. Specialist medical services are generally accessed through your GP. Aside from in an emergency, the GP is the first port of call.

Well, that's pretty much how it works in the U.S. most of the time. Most people who see specialists are referred by their primary-care physician. Gynecologists might be an exception--I'm male, so hard to say. :)



The "Ask your doctor about X drug" type adverts are baffling to Brits too. Prescription drugs are not advertised to the public in the UK like they are in US. I don't go to my doc and suggest he prescribes something I saw on the telly. We kind of assume the doctors know what they are doing and we take the drugs they prescribe. Maybe that's a fault in us. Maybe we should look a bit closer at how we're being treated and get better informed.

Those sorts of advertisements used to be illegal in the U.S. too. I think they started up around 1995. I remember a lot of unease about them at the time, though now they seem more widely accepted. Most of the advertisements are about conditions that people might otherwise not even bring to their doctor's attention. So you see advertisements about drugs for depression, anxiety, smoking cessation, etc.; you don't see so many advertisements about things like high blood-pressure drugs. I'm guessing people here trust doctors about as much as people do in the UK, but advertisements may sometimes spur them to make an appointment they otherwise wouldn't have made at all.