Health Care in France & Germany
Lessons for the UK

By David G. Green & Benedict Irvine
December 2001
Civitas: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society
ISBN: 1903386179[bookcover]
110 pages
$14.95 paper original

The UK has one of the worst healthcare systems in the developed world. The standard of care experienced by people who depend on the NHS comes nowhere near the quality that is taken for granted in most other Western European countries. In spite of regular injections of additional funding, the service has failed to improve significantly.

Waiting lists are long, treatment is rationed, some effective drugs are unavailable, people lie on trolleys in casualty departments for hours, or they are shuttled around the country trying to find a hospital which will admit them. However, these problems are largely unknown to many of our European neighbours. How do they manage to avoid them?

This book looks at the healthcare systems of France and Germany, near neighbours at a similar stage of economic development. It is based on specially conducted interviews and tries to find out what it is like to be a ‘consumer’ of health care in these countries. How much control do patients have over what they pay and who treats them? Who receives their payments? Who owns the hospitals? And what sort of treatment do the poorest members of society receive?

Instead of adopting a ‘Little Englander’ mentality, we should be prepared to learn from fellow Europeans. Every French and German citizen receives a higher standard of health care than the British. How much longer can we go on pretending that the NHS is ‘the envy of the world’?

Health Care

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