Policy Documents

Britain's Deadly Mistake: A First-Hand Report on England's Disastrous Experience with Nationalized Health Care

Conrad F. Meier –
May 1, 2002

It is one thing to read about the National Health System (NHS) in England as reported by the U.S. mainstream media. It is quite different to experience first-hand how most English citizens have been trapped in a failing single-payer health care system.

With the exception of 10 percent of the population who subscribe to private health care insurance and medical care (a result of Margaret Thatcher’s privatization initiative), 90 percent still try to get timely medical care from the NHS bureaucracy.

All too frequently they don’t get care all; are subjected to queuing for 12 months or more; get better on their own; are sent to other countries for care; are shifted to the private sector for care; or die while on the waiting list to see a doctor or gain access to a hospital.

My recent fact-finding trip (summer 2001) produced more evidence, both anecdotal and empirical, than I expected to find and served to reinforce my belief that single-payer health care is a cruel joke being played on gullible citizens. If not a cruel joke, then it is at best a hollow political promise to treat everyone the same while consistently breaking faith and treating no one the same.